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I may be being completely uneducated, but there are going to be 4 Shakespeare plays retold on the BBC. On the trailer, I recognise 1 - "Midsummer Night's Dream". What are the other 3?

 

I could be less lazy and look online, I'm sure it would tell me somewhere - but I thought I would test your Shakespearian Knowledge first!!!

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Much Ado About Nothing is also in there, but I only know that from South Today which had a feature because the adaptation is set around a local news show, which is apparently based on ST. The only trailer I've seen was the multi-programme plug for the BBC Autumn schedule, which had Johnny Vegas as Bottom, so I'll keep an eye out.

 

Obviously they did well with the adaptations of The Canterbury Tales and have decided to try it with Will. I suspect this will work even better since at least the starting point here is already drama. Do you know when it's on?

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Just seen it. The verbal spat would have given away Much Ado if I'd seen it cold but I can't get the others.

 

There's a fantastic claymation short called Next which has a very realistic Shakespeare doing an audition on stage. He goes through all his plays in brief symbolic vignettes in under five minutes and it's great fun trying to identify them all. It took me many viewings to do so and there seemed to be one or two 'missing', so somehow I must have missed them. Worth watching (and recording!) if you ever see it's on.

 

Edit: Had a quick search. It's not claymation at all (Wallace and Gromit are to blame, obviously), but puppets. By Barry Purves. Having gone picture crazy after learning how to do it, here's a still:

 

image4.jpg

 

In this one there's an explosion of ribbons, an English flag waves over the 'town' and what he's holding becomes a racket hitting a tennis ball, which is meant to be Henry V.

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Curiosity got the better of me, so the other two are:

 

 

The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth. Glad to see at least one of them is a tragedy!

 

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I thoroughly enjoyed tonight's Much Ado. It was very true to the characters and general story, and I thought setting it in the world of local TV was inspired. Shakespeare, of course, took his stories from elsewhere and adapted them to reflect the concerns of his own contemporaries, so this treatment was fully in keeping with that tradition and introduced an enjoyable satirical line.

 

The sharp banter between Beatrice and Benedick was first rate - full of energy, inventiveness and verbal wit, which is just as it should be. Good acting all round, and another feather in Billie Piper's cap (she had a fine performance in the Chaucer modernisations last year).

 

I also liked the use of a Shakespeare sonnet as part of the bonding process between B & B!

 

Excellent start. Looking forward to next week's Macbeth already! :)

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I finally watched this last night - can't wait for Mondays MacBeth (with that lovely chap from Shameless!!!)

 

I must admit I creased up tonight when I was talking to my dad this evening - he is planning his wedding for next September. He and his partner had been getting catering quotes today and had decided on their menu ideas.

 

Me (quoting Beatrice) - "Will there be salmon?"

Dad - "How did you know?!?!!!"

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I had to video it, as I had a meeting yesterday evening - really looking forward to watching it. I issued all sorts of stern and scary threats to my husband as to what I would do to him if he failed to record it :D

 

Glad to hear that it's good. The humour in Much Ado was fab, so I'm really interested to see how well they handle something much darker.

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Macbeth was excellent and once again I really enjoyed the modern treatment. Like the newsroom in Much Ado, the setting of a high-class restaurant was inspired and helped much of the original's take on power-play and respectful structures to apply in a 21st century setting, not to mention ample opportunity to contemplate slaughter and blood!

 

I also thought the binmen were excellent choices for the witches. On a literal level, those who sort through your rubbish do indeed have an insight into your life, but also they are on the margins of society - as the witches were - and their patterned dialogue, suggesting close and mystical interconnection, was superb.

 

The introduction of the Fleance character (can't remember the modern kid's name) at the very end was appropriate: even though it's not in the original it completes a pattern Shakespeare set up in the prophecies and was also done by Roman Polanski in his film version. It rounded it off effectively.

 

If I had qualms, it was that I didn't feel we had been led to care very much what happens to Macbeth (and, to a lesser extent, Lady M), which is actually crucial to a tragedy. I'm not entirely sure why this didn't work so well, since we were given insight into their personal sufferings, as well as his doubts about the first murder. Maybe the hard-edged world of the kitchen was a little too much so to become engaged on that level.

 

Also, the last two-and-a-half acts were ripped through in about 20 minutes. Admittedly all the English invasion business had to go, but perhaps this is another reason why we didn't care enough about their fates.

 

The resolution to 'when pigs fly' was too corny for my liking at such a high-point of dramatic tension. I'm also assuming the food inspector was meant to be an equivalent to the Porter, but that didn't work for me: there seemed to be no point to his appearance.

 

Anyway, that's quibbling. I'm very much looking forward to how they tackle next week's The Taming of the Shrew: a highly problematic play for a modern audience because of its handling of the issue of female submission. A Josie Lawrence stage production some years ago made a good effort at making this more palatable and perhaps slightly subverting Shakespeare's original point, but it wasn't in a modern context, so didn't have to go too far.

 

If you haven't watched any of these yet, you're missing a treat!

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Should have said before, I thought it was interesting that they didn't show Duncan's murder. Neither does Shakespeare, but in the modern climate of gore and violence I was a little surprised at its absence. Indeed, we didn't see Banquo's death either (Billy? - Blimey, shouldn't be forgetting the modern names so quickly!), which is less violent that Will's version! This put admirable stress on the Macbeths' psychological reactions, with the blood appearing in other contexts, though still didn't fully engage our sympathies!

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Should have said before, I thought it was interesting that they didn't show Duncan's murder. Neither does Shakespeare, but in the modern climate of gore and violence I was a little surprised at its absence. Indeed, we didn't see Banquo's death either (Billy? - Blimey, shouldn't be forgetting the modern names so quickly!), which is less violent that Will's version! This put admirable stress on the Macbeths' psychological reactions, with the blood appearing in other contexts, though still didn't fully engage our sympathies!

 

I agree about Banquo/Billy - the lack of his murder was strange - but I think it was effective in its absence - the look on the sons face was pure confusion and the spinning bicycle wheel very evocative - sometimes what you do not see is more haunting than what you do!!!!

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I finally saw this yesterday. Good, wasn't it!!

 

As others have said, the binmen were inspired, and the whole thing was beautifully dark and disturbing. I found the build up to Duncan's murder very, very good. Macbeth and his wife were wonderfully convincing up to that point. I found it harder to follow the changes in their characters after that - Ella in particular.

 

The one bit of plot I lost temporarily was the murder of McDuff's family. It took me a good while to work out the significance of the blood appearing through the bedspread. I just assumed it was another of the MacBeth's blood hallucinations until I started to wonder just why Peter McDuff was suddenly so upset with Joe!

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Actually starting this before the end of tonight's episode, which hasn't grabbed me, I'm afraid, and I've been switching attention on and off throughout. Katherine is just too comic-book to be convincing and I'm sorry to say there's some dreadful over-acting. How on earth this woman could be a serious contender to lead a political party defies belief; it just wouldn't happen, would it? Much Ado's comedy was a lot more successful, but I suppose this was part of their strategy to make the domination issue more palatable, removing it slightly from reality.

 

I think the writer also penned the updated version of Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale, which was one of the better ones in that run, so a little disappointing.

 

Oh well, let's keep hopes up for the Dream next week!

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Very disappointing but, however you look at it, there is no getting away from the basic misogyny of Taming of the Shrew so why try. It might have worked better if there had been more wit and less silliness. Hard to imagine that anyone would be turned on by a Katherine who sounded more like an alien than a person.

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How on earth this woman could be a serious contender to lead a political party defies belief;

 

Hehe, isn't that the point, that it doesn't matter who they chose, there is no viable alternative :eek: strayed into politics there :D

 

I liked it. It is the first one I've seen and I'm not at all familiar with the Shakespeare tale, only the film "10 things I hate about you" :rolleyes:

 

About ten minutes in I thought I can't watch any more of this and was going to turn over then there was the scene in the lift, which made me laugh, so I stuck with it and yes it was over-acted in lots of places, but I thought that was deliberate. The misogyny surprised me, but was quite cleverly done. She is saying the words, he is my lord etc but only because she trusts him implicitly not to abuse the privilege, and it doesn't mean she's lost her sense of self, just needs someone to think for her outside of work - or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

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I think that reads it pretty well, Starry. Glad you enjoyed it! I wonder if you'd seen the others whether you would have felt quite the same? I might have felt better disposed to this one if I hadn't been so impressed by the previous two.

 

I've never seen 10 Things I Hate About You. Is it good?

 

It's a really difficult play to perform in this day and age and I think they dealt with its difficulties about as well as they could. I agree that the overacting was part of diluting the impact of the sexism (I prefer that to 'misogeny', which I think is a bit harsh. Plenty of men are held up for ridicule in Shakespeare; the social dimension of the position of women is something that needs to be seen in a contemporary light - hence the difficulty today), but for me that lost a lot of the wit that Shakespeare does so well and which was captured very effectively in Much Ado.

 

Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood!

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I wish I had seen the others, I'm not very good at remembering when programmes are on. Last Thursday I forgot Bleak House was on and I love that!

 

"10 things I hate about you" is set in a U.S. high school and is okay if you like hollywood teen movies, which I do :) There is no sexism though, the shrew is tamed simply by falling in love... awww! or blech! depending on your point of view.

 

Without having seen the original play I can't tell how much wit was left out, but it was more of a drama than a comedy despite its over-acting and funny lift scene.

 

I'll have to remember to programme my sky+ so I don't forget next week's.

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I enjoyed The Taming of the Shrew, though it was a bit wierd!

 

Yes, Kate was a real caricature, which was a shame, but maybe it was unavoidable. I don't know the original play so I can't make comparisons, but I loved being kept guessing as to how Petruchio really felt about Kate, whether he was coldly playing her for the cash, or whether he had genuinely fallen for her. I loved the fire and unpredictability between them, even though that was a little overplayed. I loved the fact that they were both so very warped and damaged characters, and yet somehow they made it work, in their own unique style.

 

She is saying the words, he is my lord etc but only because she trusts him implicitly not to abuse the privilege, and it doesn't mean she's lost her sense of self, just needs someone to think for her outside of work - or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

 

I agree with you on that - and I'd even take it further. She finished that section by saying, both that he would never ask her to abase herself in that way - but also that he would do the same for her, so it became a situation of mutual submission, rather than being one sided.

 

I did like the character of Harry very much - he was the real hero of the piece, I reckon. I loved the scene when he arrived on the honeymoon, and enabled Kate to somehow make sense of her new husband.

 

Enjoyed it very much, despite some flaws and oddities!

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I loved the fact that they were both so very warped and damaged characters

That's a very good point, Claire. It's one of the things that certainly helped give more balance to this modern version.

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I enjoyed the Taming of the Shrew. Possibly more than I enjoyed MacBeth. It was very tongue in cheek and there were quite a few moments where I laughed out loud!

 

I did have problems trying to rmind myself that Katherine was Katherine and not Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter films though!!!!

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