Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Bill Paterson, Imelda Staunton, Keeley Hawes, James McAvoy, Shirley Henderson
Genres: Drama, Television, Documentary
The four cutting-edge productions in this collection bring Shakespeare alive for a 21st century audience. Macbeth is the chef in a three-star restaurant, slicing apart his celebrity boss, Duncan. Beatrice and Benedick are ... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
A hat trick
Titania | Greenville, South Carolina USA | 04/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As an English professor always looking for new perspectives on Shakespeare for my students, I watched these enthusiastically. Aside from Midsummer, which focuses too much on Theseus and Hippolyta's marriage and is very dark,these are terrific. The best stars in the English firmament make up these casts. The best is Shrew -- Shirley Henderson, Harry Potter's Moaning Myrtle all grown up (metaphorically, she's a tiny person) is a miniature nuclear bomb, and Rufus Sewell is absolutely edible. The elevator scene is hysterical. Twiggy is also great as her former model mother ushering around her current model sister, Bianca. I've been waiting for these on this side of the pond for a year now!"
Excellent modern versions!
M. S. Williams | TX, USA | 08/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a lifelong lover of the Bard, and yearly attendee and patron of a Shakespeare festival, I was very wary of purchasing these DVDs and seeing them, but I was especially pleased with these storylines and the production quality.
The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing are standouts; each warrant the purchase price of the set. But MacBeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream are no slackers, either! The acting is overall superb, the music and lighting and sets very well done, and for once, the chemistry between the leads was flawlessly believable. The modernization of Shakespeare's language was so well orchestrated, and the parallels between Shakespeare's day and the modern world so well done, I loved these productions.
Perhaps not for the overly devout Shakespeare fan who sighs at every missed line or nuance, but I have to give these my highest rating as they are excellent modern versions of Shakespeare's plays."
1 Great, 2 Good, and another
Georgia Smiley | Los Angeles | 01/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I viewed these originally on BBCAmerica and then purchased them...so glad I did.
This version of "Macbeth" was the standout for me. It kept most of the themes while translating the story to a modern kitchen. While a tragedy, this was also the funniest of the four: some marvelous lines and even better performances from Hawes and McAvoy. McAvoy's boyish looks and small stature served to reenforce his subservience to his wife, a sleek, insinuating, and ultimately tragic Ella Macbeth. Hawes performance, especially the dissolving into madness was touching and controlled: no scenery was chewed in the making of this story.
The same cannot be said for "Shrew". Rufus Sewell was brilliant and Shirley Henderson over the top (as usual, but it works here.) Henderson's voice is an acquired taste so it you don't like it, don't bother with this but you'll be robbed of Sewell's delicious turn. The ending was a disappointment and knocked this from an A to a B-.
The Damian Lewis/Sarah Parrish "Much Ado" was mildly funny and passed the time but I've no desire to see it again.
I think the "Midsummer Night's Dream" was a bit too ambitious and ended up bit of a mess. Some wonderful performers who needed a stronger director?"
All Four Films Are Fine
Douglas Vanderweide | Maine, USA | 01/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While other reviews are rightfully praising the BBC's updating of "Taming Of The Shrew" and "Much Ado About Nothing," it's worth noting that the version of "Macbeth" in this series is absolutely outstanding.
The witches are bin men (garbage collectors), the principals are chefs entwined in the jealousies generated by a restaurant review, and the overall execution is a perfect blend of darkness, madness and hubris. It's probably the most true-to-source adaptation in the series and yet another reason to get this series.
And, as a footnote, I agree with the previous sentiment that the tone and focus of "Midsummer Night's Dream" is off, but it's still well-done."