Shakespeare on Toast

Ben Crystal

Shakespeare on Toast

Who's afraid of William Shakespeare? Just about everyone. He wrote too much and what he did write is inaccessible and elitist. Right? Wrong. "Shakespeare on Toast" knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling and uplifting drama. Actor and author Ben Crystal brings the bright words and colourful characters of the world's greatest hack writer brilliantly to life, handing over the key to Shakespeare's plays, unlocking the so-called difficult bits and, astonishingly, finding Shakespeare's own voice amid the poetry.Told in five fascinating Acts, "Shakespeare on Toast" sweeps the cobwebs from the Bard - from his language, his life, his time - revealing both the man and his work to be relevant, accessible and full of beans. This is a book for everyone, whether you're reading Shakespeare for the first time, occasionally find him troublesome, think you know him backwards, or have never set foot near one of his plays but have always wanted to ...It's quick, easy and good for you. Just like beans on toast. 4.0 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
Shakespeare on Toast

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Reference, Literary Studies & Criticism
Format Hardback
Pages 240
RRP £11.99
Date of Publication September 2008
ISBN 978-1848310162
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Who's afraid of William Shakespeare? Just about everyone. He wrote too much and what he did write is inaccessible and elitist. Right? Wrong. "Shakespeare on Toast" knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare, revealing the man and his plays for what they really are: modern, thrilling and uplifting drama. Actor and author Ben Crystal brings the bright words and colourful characters of the world's greatest hack writer brilliantly to life, handing over the key to Shakespeare's plays, unlocking the so-called difficult bits and, astonishingly, finding Shakespeare's own voice amid the poetry.Told in five fascinating Acts, "Shakespeare on Toast" sweeps the cobwebs from the Bard - from his language, his life, his time - revealing both the man and his work to be relevant, accessible and full of beans. This is a book for everyone, whether you're reading Shakespeare for the first time, occasionally find him troublesome, think you know him backwards, or have never set foot near one of his plays but have always wanted to ...It's quick, easy and good for you. Just like beans on toast.

Reviews

The Guardian

Steven Poole

There are gems of close reading and theatrically focused attention throughout. It would be a shame if the style, which often reads as though desperate to hold the attention of a reluctant GCSE student, put off older readers (his habit of saying something "bakes" his "cake", in particular, might not roast your chicken). Crystal ends up admirably succeeding in his ambition to provide a toolbox for getting to grips with Shakespeare's plays.

31/01/2009

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The Independent

Katy Guest

All of this is conveyed with a touching enthusiasm that borders on geekiness. And a thoughtful recap chapter on spondees and dactyls will thrill rusty English students. But who is likely to buy this book? Is Crystal preaching to the converted? Or at Bardophobes who are unlikely to pick it up? It would be a shame if they didn't, because having Crystal as a companion through the stickier parts of Hamlet and Macbeth is like going to the theatre with an intelligent friend.

26/09/2008

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The Times

Iain Finlayson

You gotta love a writer who opens his book with action hero lines and stage directions for Hamlet the Terminator (“shoots Polonius with an Uzi ... lights his cigar, castle explodes”). You can dismiss it as dumbed-down Shakespeare if you like, but Crystal starts and ends his short book of basic Shakespeare with the rule of thumb that the Bard never writes anything without a reason. Neither does Crystal, whose lively, sometimes excitable, search for the reasons behind the words, lines, rhythms, allusions and stage directions adds up to a masterclass for modern beginners and old hands alike.

19/09/2008

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