Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Simon Callow's Man from Stratford

To see Simon Callow's one-man show Shakespeare: The Man from Stratford at the Bath Theatre Royal last night. In one of the last Main House shows before this summer's revamp of the historic theatre, Callow delivered another tour de force as he raced through the Bard's career interspersed with great speeches from his plays. Loosely -and inevitably - dividing his 90 minute monologue into the Seven Ages of Man, Callow took us from a Middle England childhood where young Will received a grounding in Latin grammar at Stratford grammar school, before working in his father's glove shop and marrying Anne Hathaway, through plague-ridden London to Shakespeare's time at the Globe and his retirement as a man of property to his home town. It is a thrilling story of small town politics, big city revenge, royal fickleness and apparently transient fame. Callow excels at this sort of show - as his earlier brilliant renditions of Wilde (the Micheal MacLiammóir version) and Dickens showed, and he thrilled his audience again last night as he moved effortlessly from historic narrative to dramatic impersonation. The play is touring through to Edinburgh, where it is sure to be a great hit.

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