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REVIEW ARCHIVE

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BEING SHAKESPEARE OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Opening Night: April 4, 2012

Show NY TIMES NY POST AP TIME OUT BACKSTAGE
Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review

Synopsis: An aging Lear, disintegrating with his kingdom. A cryptic Ophelia, driven mad by madness. Hamlet, hell-bent on revenge. All of them came from the brain of Shakespeare, but what do we know about the Bard himself? In a tour-de-force performance, veteran actor Simon Callow (the original Roman Mozart in Amadeus on stage, the film Shakespeare in Love) assumes the daunting challenge of illuminating the man behind the roles in this utterly compelling one-man play by preeminent Shakespeare biographer Jonathan Bate, directed and designed by Tom Cairns. Channeling Macbeth and Henry V here, musing over Shakespeare's childhood there, Callow leaps from anecdote to soliloquy, using the famous Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It as his guide to consider how a glovemaker's son could have gone on to write the world.

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Broadway Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:

"In the invigorating “Being Shakespeare,” now playing at the BAM Harvey Theater, Mr. Callow testifies in support of the playwright. His collaborator, the Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, has supplied all sorts of contextualizing facts, figures, segues and suppositions, allowing Mr. Callow to point his finger unwaveringly at the title character: He did it."

Click here to read the full "Being Shakespeare" review.

NY POST REVIEW:

"If this whole showbiz thing doesn’t work out, Simon Callow would make a great professor. The British performer, best known here for such films as “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” just brought us “Being Shakespeare,” a veritable master class on the Bard’s life and works."

Click here to read the full "Being Shakespeare" review.

ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW:

"Take that, Roland Emmerich, "thou crusty botch of nature." Be gone, "Anonymous," "thou goatish pox-marked puttock.""

Click here to read the full "Being Shakespeare" review.

TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW:

"You may remember that last year the period flick Anonymous tried to assign the authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. What’s most galling about such conspiracies is that they never factor in the element that really matters: talent. A decently educated, middle-class country lad happened to have a vast, intuitive grasp of language and the slipperiness of meaning and sound; a natural affinity for moral ambiguity; a tragicomic sense of life; and an ability to make the cognitive leap from the quotidian to the cosmic. Where’s the genius conspiracy? I suppose it’s implicit in the constant flow of textual studies, but Being Shakespeare is one of the few notable attempts to marry the scant paper trail of the Bard’s life with relevant passages from his work."

Click here to read the full "Being Shakespeare" review.

BACKSTAGE REVIEW:

"Half academic lecture, half performance piece, “Being Shakespeare” features the brilliantly articulate Simon Callow leading us on a guided tour of the Bard’s life and work. The script, by Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Bate, uses the predictable framework of the “Seven Ages of Man” speech from “As You Like It” to explore the artistic development and personal life of the world’s greatest playwright. Attired in a simple sport coat and slacks, Callow addresses the audience with a casual, nonthreatening tone, easily transitioning into excerpts from the plays and sonnets to illustrate moments in Will’s journey from the son of a glover in the small market town of Stratford-on-Avon to a wealthy and respected chronicler of not just the Elizabethan age but the human condition."

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