Mrs. A. Wright

Great account of work done by Cambridge Shakespeare Festival

By Mrs. A. Wright VINE VOICE on 4 Aug. 2015

This book describes the work of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. It is not a book about Shakespeare although it would be difficult to discuss the production of his plays without mentioning the man himself.

The book is well written and is extensively researched but is not a heavy educational tome. It is a book to pick up and put down at will. Above all it is a book to enjoy. It is written in clear and logical sections dealing with the history,successes and mishaps of the CSF. The Elizabethan Theatre has never seemed as real to me as it is after reading this book. I loved the descriptions of costumes and Props (or lack of them). I loved the inventiveness employed in open air work. The audience proximity and participation was a joy to read. There is a lovely description of venues which many with an interest in Cambridge University would enjoy.

I laughed out loud at the practicalities of putting on a show and enjoyed the little gems of stage craft. The sense of community which seemed to exist between the participants left a lovely warm feeling. Andrew Muir is without a doubt a devotee of Shakespeare and he writes full of humour and affection. I am not a devotee and the book has not convinced me to be one. But then this was never Muir's intention. What the book has done has piqued my interest in the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival and left me full of admiration for the work they do.

Tara Zuk

Outstanding book. Entertaining, educational and engrossing.  By Tara Zuk 14 Aug. 2015  

Another outstanding book from Andrew Muir. This book kept me informed and entertained from cover to cover. There is an excellent balance, as the attention to detail was engrossing whilst never dry. I found the information was well-organised and accessible - both in terms of discussing contemporary Shakespearean staging, audience reception and writing processes, as well as the more modern challenges of staging the plays in the unique venue(s) of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival (discussed in contrast with the more impersonal presentation of a proscenium arch stage).

Academic in rigour of depth of research and content, but warm, humorous, and connectively readable, this text is a must for anyone interested in Shakespeare, the Cambridge Festival, or even just a more casual fan of history and literature. Students of Shakespeare would gain a lot of important background from this book - in a way that keeps the reader smiling and actually enjoying the learning process.

I wish I had been able to have this book available when I was a student!

Having always enjoyed Andrew Muir's books and articles on Bob Dylan, I was thrilled to find that he expresses his same levels of humour and passion to the subject of the original bard.

The title itself calls the book a celebration - and it certainly is. Andrew Muir's writing thoroughly celebrates both Shakespeare's unmeasurable achievements and influence across the centuries, and also celebrates the outstanding work of those who tirelessly strive to present the plays to new audiences - maintaining authenticity and relevance.

Which is also exactly what this book does, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

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