Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Presenting as one of Britain’s greatest contemporary actors, Simon Callow presents a greatest hits compilation of Shakespeare’s finest moments. A huge audience were enthralled and enraptured by this 2-CD compilation lasting over two hours.
This is a tour-de-force from Simon Callow, the star of his own show. Using Shakespeare’s most well-known and oft quoted speeches from across the range of the bard’s work, Callow dominates proceedings. His is a huge towering presence, and the show is very much about him, not Shakespeare.
But that is fine with a massive and massively appreciative audience, who relish the character from Four Weddings doing his thing as only he can. I suspect critics will not like it. They will pooh-pooh Callow’s utter domination of the event as a ham grabbing centre stage when that rightly belongs to the Bard.
But the audience loved it and lapped up this cleverly staged trip through Shakespeare’s back catalogue. Its not a quick way to see the plays, its not Shakespeare for Dummies.
Rather it is an afternoon with Simon Callow strutting his stuff and very well he does it too. The highbrows won’t like it, and that’s why you should love it. Go along and enjoy it for what it is. Great entertainment for the masses. I suspect Shakespeare would be impressed by the crowds who flock to see it. Its fun, its educational, its impressive. Its a fine piece of theatre. Its Simon Callow.
And it rates highly on this year’s fringe. It is a compilation; it does what it says it will do on the flyers. And it will upset the critics.