Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shakespeare Retold

I enjoyed these modern adaptations by the BBC. The plot on the back cover:

Macbeth is the chef in a three-star restaurant, slicing apart his celebrity boss, Duncan. Beatrice and Benedick are rival co-anchors on a nightly newscast whose open hostility masks passion of a different kind. . . . And the eccentric aristocrat Petruchio sets out to tame the conservative MP Kate in a politically incorrect marriage of convenience.

Of the three I watched, I enjoyed The Taming of the Shrew best. Shirley Henderson was an unforgettable Kate, small, nasty, winning. Rufus Sewell was convincing as a brutal, childish and cross-dressing aristocrat. In Much Ado About Nothing, Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis were charmingly antagonistic. Tom Ellis (Claude) was a dreamboat. I did not enjoy the film-noirish Macbeth at first, but then got into it. James McAvoy made it very watchable. The bloody special effects were also terrifically chilling.

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