Monday, March 19, 2012

I Have a Problem...

...With Shakespeare.  As in, I love him too, too much*.  I've seen Hamlet live on at least four separate occasions.  One of them was even good, with a Hamlet who wasn't a total sissy and an Ophelia who didn't make me want to give her a swift kick in the butt for being so pathetic.

I've read Filthy ShakespeareFor fun.

I think Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead is a legitimately awesome film.

I know what "wherefore" means.

Basically, I am a huge Shakespeare geek.

Last night, I felt the call of the verilys and forsooths, and spent the entire evening watching two of my favorite plays on dvd.  The first, of course, is the 1999 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream--the one with well, pretty much everyone famous who ever lived excpect maybe George Clooney, David Beckham, and Jesus.  Lordy, I love this film.  I'm not generally a big fan of Calista Flockhart, but her portrayal of Helena is spot-on.  Her Helena is desperate and yes, more than slightly pathetic, but her sheer determination to do whatever it takes to be with Demetrius saves her from being an unsympathetic character.  And the claws she shows during her argument with Hermia--meow!  And really, has there ever been a more beautiful Hermia than Anna Friel?  Bottom is more than just an ass in this adaptation, which I love.  And Stanley Tucci as Robin Goodfellow...  When I first saw this film as a teenager, I totally fell in love with Tucci's Puck.  (Which sounds a little dirty when I put it that way.  I was in eighth grade!)

Love, love, love it.

But then, a couple of months ago, my cousin introduced me to this: 

As a Shakespeare nerd and Doctor Who afficianado, David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing is pretty much my version of a wet dream.  The fact that this filmed version of a live performance is not available on Netflix--as in, I actually had to pay to see it--goes to show how eager I was to hear about it.  It was a little pricey with the pounds-to-dollars conversion, but was it ever worth it!  I've seen it several times now and still giggle like a caffeinated four-year-old on crack every time I see it.

It's set in the '80s, and it absolutely works.  There's a Rubick's Cube, a huge boombox, and the masked ball.  Good god.  We've got characters dressed as Mario, Darth Vader, David Bowie, Miss Piggy, and Princess Di.  As a theater minor (i.e., I'm a theater nerd who just wanted to know what differentiates between a good perfomance and a great one), I feel reasonably qualified to tell you that the costumes and lighting are very, very good--wait till you see Hero's wedding dress.  I got root beer up my nose first time I saw it.  The set is minimalist but very clever, with most of the action taking place on a large round dais, split  in unequal halves by a series of pillars, that rotates between scenes to create the illusion of different spaces.

And there's a guy in a g-string.

I don't know how I feel about that, really.

Anyway, I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you this:  the absolute funniest part of the entire perfomance is Benedick's line...

...wait for it...

..."A book."

Well, you might have to just trust me on that.

*Clarification:  I love Shakespeare's comedies--yes, even The Merchant of Venice--and a good number of the sonnets.  The histories are boring, and the tragedies only need to be read/seen once and that's good enough for me.  Except Hamlet, which I had to keep going to see until I saw a version that didn't make me want to brain the title character.  Oooh, and MacBeth.  That's good no matter how many times I see it.  But none of the Richards or the Henrys.

(True:  This is a really interesting case study on the relevance of teaching the very uncomfortable Merchant of Venice in high school.  I promise.)

Karma knows very well that "The course of true love never did run smooth," but she's looking forward to her happy ending.


  1. I bought the Tennant-Tate 'Much Ado About Nothing' too! I LOVE it!

    1. It's so good!!! And Catherine Tate, god I love her. And the scene with the paint--I about bust a gut every time.

  2. Oh wow! Can't wait! Did you see David is also in a vampire fighting flick?! In the trailer I saw he is pretty well disguised, but proceeds as he's talking to the other character, to remove the disguise a piece at at ime until he's VERY recognizable. And shirtless!! :D

    1. I usually try to have some real, meaningful (or at least snarky) reply to comments, but sorry--I'm too busy searching for this trailer!

    2. Fright Night. I want to see it, but I'm afraid it will be awful. It's a remake and all the purists who are fans of the original are naysaying it. Why do I read reviews, why?!?

    3. I watched the trailer last night. The Netflix account is really The Squeeze's, so I only ever watch instant stuff so I don't mess up his queue, but I might have to break that rule in this instance.

      I mean, c'mon! It's David Tennant! (Who cares if it sucks? He's got his shirt off!)