Being Shakespeare

Simon Callow has a personality big enough to fill any stage. He’s been

acting for almost four decades, directed plays and a movie, written several

books and already performed one man shows about Oscar Wilde and Charles


But this often most flamboyant of actors is in comparatively

subdued, though still enthusiastic, form as he tackles William Shakespeare,

following him from cradle to grave in Shakespearian scholar Jonathan Bate’s

well-structured combination of biographical detail, speculation and extracts

from the Bard’s works.

Keeping to the timeline of the famous Seven Ages of Man speech from As You

Like It, Callow entertains us with snippets of information about

Shakespeare’s parents (his father was a glovemaker), his childhood, early

marriage, career and death, interspersed with illustrative examples from his


Slipping in and out of character, Callow gives us not only a

schoolboy William but also an ageing Falstaff, not only Romeo but Juliet


Callow is a fine actor and a well-informed guide with obvious fondness for

his subject, and although it can’t and doesn’t penetrate too deeply into

the psyche of the famous playwright himself, this simply staged evening has

something to offer both the Shakespeare aficionado and the tentative novice.


Trafalgar Studios 1, Whitehall, SW1A 2DY
0844 871 7632
Tube: Charing Cross
Until 23rd July
£20- £45

– Louise Kingsley