19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Poor Johnny One Note,
This review is from: In Search of Shakespeare [DVD] (DVD)
As an introduction to the world in which Shakespeare lived and the known details of his life, this is quite good.
It is especially strong on the intense Elizabethan atmosphere and the underworld of Catholic disenters. It is full of dark rooms and broody Elizabethan buildings.
Supplimenting the architecture are several snippits of the Royal Shakespeare Company in places that would have had performances by Shakespeare and his company. This does give us a flavour of what the acting would have been like. Also there are performances by a boy company - and when you see that you see how believable a boy would have been in the role of Juliet (shame they didn't do that with the boy).
The presentation of London is also good - and the information about the presence of Jews (I was taught there were none in Shakespeare's England!) and, to quote, People of Colour - quite a thriving community too - in the city does cast a new light on some of the plays.
However, there seems to be only one theme to Mr Wood's programmes - Shakespeare was a closet Catholic - and that is not strong enough to take us through the almost 4 hours of material on these 2 dvds. Much of the material is prefaced with an, 'I think' or, 'maybe'. That indicates the degree of supposition being made and the not too factual nature of much of what we are given.
There is also a lot of repartition - both of images and text.
There is a lot of other material which would have supported a very different view of Shakespeare and an exploration of this could have been comfortably made - but maybe that would not have been quite Mr Wood's style!
If you are new to the subject of Shakespeare and his time, this is a good intorduction - and an excellent corrective to some of the more outlandish myths about a national hero. But if you want an indepth view, you need to look else where - it is very much a personal journey into Bard country.