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Shakespeare, the Man from Stratford

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Fear not, Simon Callow is not “playing” Shakespeare; he is “presenting” him in a highly entertaining journey round the man and his plays, rather like a well informed tour guide.

Scripted by scholar Jonathan Bate and dressed in a black velvet suit with a white shirt, Callow frames the biographical outline in a structure of the seven ages of man, with a few props and some ill-advised projections.

There are no radical speculations, just an insistently intelligent, neatly turned account of how a grammar school boy learned about the classics, the theatre of life and of war, and how he progressed from being a play fixer to a play maker.

Shakespeare’s profound humanity, transformed by genius, in matters of grief, love and patriotism, is illustrated in speeches from King John, As You Like It, Henry V...it’s take-away Bard, a reader’s digest, but shot through with a deep compassion and a compelling desire to communicate.


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