Theatre: Shakespeare Productions, Adaptations, etc.

Posted 9 March, 2015 by Lianne in Entertainment, Miscellaneous / 8 Comments

Okay, I’ve been on a massive Shakespeare kick…thing…lately. There was of course the other histories that I finally got around to last month via audiobooks (see tag) and more recenty I finally got around to watching my DVD of Twelfth Night (review) performed at the Globe in 2012 (flailings to follow on the 20th; darn these scheduled posts of late πŸ˜› ). Suffice to say, I really loved it πŸ™‚

This was from when the play was performed as Broadway; the DVD is from when it was performed at the Globe

The latter launched me into scouring over various Shakespeare productions on YouTube and reading up reviews from other recent-ish performances at the Globe and other major companies in the UK :3 I’m now keen to pick up Much Ado About Nothing (review) from the 2011 run at the Globe, it looks like a lot of fun. Beatrice is played by Eve Best and Benedick is played by Charles Edwards (hello there, Downton Abbey‘s Gregson! I didn’t realise it was you until someone pointed it out on Tumblr or thereabouts):

I also want to check out the version starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate that was performed at the same time, but I wish there was a physical DVD for it. There’s the online purchase but I have yet to figure out how it works. Love their chemistry from Doctor Who, and it looks like it works great in Much Ado About Nothing too (I love his delivery of “What, my dear lady disdain, are you still living?” Haha!) πŸ™‚

Anyway, off the top of my head, other adapations that I’ve seen over the years:

  • Romeo and Juliet, both the 1968 and 1996 adaptations (1968 wins out, have a soft spot for it, but 1994 was a very interesting take on the story. I would have checked out the recent one (the 2013 one with Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld because they actually filmed it at Mantova, but my love of the place is not enough to check it out, sorry)
  • Oh, and I suppose I should include that field trip we had back in second year of high school when my English class travelled to Straford (Ontario, not England *le sigh*) to see a performance of Romeo and Juliet (we studied Twelfth Night that year, but it was good to watch in preparation to studying it the following year).
  • Hamlet, the 2000 version with Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles. Again, interesting take, though it was pretty quiet as I recall. Saw bits of the…2009 version?…with David Tennant but have yet to see the whole production. Also wish there was a DVD of the production with John Simm (dunno the year, but Michelle Dockery I think played Ophelia), I saw a clip of his rendition of Hamlet’s speech and it looked just as interesting.
  • Much Ado About Nothing, the 1993 version with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. Love the setting, but I, err, focused on the scenes between Benedick and Beatrice more than anything else, really :3
  • OMG, how hard is it to track a DVD copy of 1996’s Twelfth Night?! Love the cast, thought the setting was unique, <3 it all
  • 2004’s The Merchant of Venice. Another great cast, but I remember feeling a bit disappointed at the rendition of my favourite speech (Shylock’s speech; dunno if I mentioned here before why that was my favourite monologue from this play, but anyway, been meaning to revisit the play as a whole anyhow)
  • I’ve seen clips from the Shakespeare Re-Told series that was done sometime in the 2000s which was pretty interesting
  • 10 Things I Hate About You–Not a theatre production or classical adaptation per se but I feel I need mention this here anyway πŸ˜‰
  • Edit: OMG guys, how did I forget The Hollow Crown?! (Richard II; Henry IV; Henry V)

I know we’ve discussed it here and there in the past year about other adaptations and productions, but I’m throwing out the question to your guys: Which adaptations and stage productions have you seen? Which one was your favourite? Any you’d recommend? (if there’s a DVD for it)

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8 Responses to “Theatre: Shakespeare Productions, Adaptations, etc.”

  1. I didn’t know Tennant and Tate did a version of Much Ado together! That clip makes it look promising! I’ll have to look into it as I love them in Doctor Who too! πŸ™‚

    • Yup yup! Their rapport is amazing (I love that interview they did together at the Graham Norton show where they were quizzed on what acts and scenes certain quotes came from) πŸ˜€

  2. This has totally inspired me to check out more Shakespeare productions and adaptations! πŸ˜€ *long comment impending*

    I was lucky enough to see the production of the David Tennant/Catherine Tate version live. It was on the very last day of the production. My friend and I were literally sitting right at the very back of the theatre but it was a wonderful experience. At times the audience was laughing so hard that you couldn’t hear what the actors were saying so I’ve been meaning to check out the live recording – so I can catch up on what I missed! πŸ˜€ If you’re looking for another version of Much Ado there’s the Joss Whedon film (haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard great things) and a fantastic web series called Nothing Much To Do. I’d completely recommend that web series. It’s set in New Zealand so you’ll get to hear some awesome kiwi accents, the acting was unbelievably good, and I *loved* that they updated Dogberry and Verges into Sherlock Holmes-inspired amateur detectives πŸ˜€

    It’s a pretty polarising adaptation but I have very fond memories of watching the Baz Luhrmann R+J during my high school English classes. I remember certain scenes from that film very, very vividly: Mercutio’s drag scene and the fishtank scene with the Des’ree song.

    I love David Tennant’s Hamlet! I never got to see David Tennant do Hamlet live but I’ve seen the DVD. I’m also planning to see Benedict Cumberbatch do the role. The tickets for the live version are all sold out but on the 16th of March tickets are going on sale for a live screening.

    10 Things I Hate About You is seriously my favourite romantic comedy. I’m glad you mentioned that one!

    Other Shakespeare productions that I’ve seen live are Richard II (the David Tennant version) and The Tempest at the Globe (which starred Roger Allam and Colin Morgan).

    • Ahh, that’s so awesome that you saw David Tennant & Catherine Tate in that production of Much Ado About Nothing! πŸ˜€ Sucks about missing some of the lines, but I’m happy that company posted a recording that you can check out. I haven’t seen the Joss Whedon film but I’ve heard so many good things about it. Thanks for the rec for the web series, that’s cool that they made one πŸ™‚

      Haha, yeah, I remember everyone in school loving the Luhrmann version of R&J. It’s certainly quite a memorable one! The scene where John Leguizamo sinks to his knees and kisses his gun with the image of the Virgin Mary always pops into my head when I think of that movie. The scenes you mentioned are also very memorable ones, not to mention a great soundtrack πŸ˜€

      Wow, Benedict Cumberbatch is on a roll with all the Shakespeare performances! When is his Hamlet production starting? And then The Hollow Crown later this year (I believe?)…Oooh, glad to hear you enjoyed David Tennant’s Hamlet! Can’t wait to watch it πŸ™‚ How was his Richard II? His hair looks glorious/ridiculous but I was a bit hesitant to checking it out just because Ben Whishaw’s turn as Richard II is still so fresh in my mind…

      That’s so cool that you’ve seen so many live preformances, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on them πŸ˜€

      • Cumberbatch is doing Hamlet from August to October. So excited! πŸ˜€

        David Tennant did a great job as Richard II but I honestly preferred Ben Whishaw. He was incredible in the role and the abdication scene alone broke my heart πŸ™ A friend of mine read a biography on the Plantagenets recently and said that she lost all sympathy for Richard after learning more about his life and yet I find it impossible not to feel sorry for him when I re-watch that scene.

        You’re welcome! πŸ™‚ I don’t think I * have* seen that many Shakespeare productions though! You see, I live just 40 minutes away from Stratford-upon-Avon so you’d think I’d have seen tons of productions there but I honestly haven’t. Not one! I’ve seen some Shakespeare adaptations and I’ve seen some productions in London but I’ve seen nothing in Stratford. I think that’s a New Year’s Resolution in the making!

        • Exciting! I hope they make a recording, I’m very curious to see how he plays Hamlet *crosses fingers*

          I saw bits of Mark Rylance as Richard II and much as I like his performances, yeah, Ben Whishaw wins me over as Richard as well. It was just perfect, the way he portrayed the childishness and the vulnerability of the character. Richard made some poor choices over the course of his reign, but Whishaw is fantastic in the role (much as I understand where Bolingbroke is coming from with everything that’s happening under Richard’s rule).

          lol, that’s really cool that you live so close to Stratford-upon-Avon! I hope you get a chance to see a production or two over there at some point (and talk about it on your blog or elsewhere–I’d love to hear what it’s like!), sounds like a great resolution indeed πŸ™‚

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