(Okay, so how could they leave James McAvoy off the "Starring" list? He was brilliant and a huge name draw if you ask me.)
Macbeth--set in the cut throat world of an haute cuisine restaurant kitchen. James McAvoy SHINES as Joe Macbeth as he descends into madness.
I especially love the witches portrayed as 3 garbage men (in the background of the picture below). I would have loved to have seen more of Macduff played by Richard Armitage (also left off the "Starring" list and a huge draw to me. I didn't even know he was in it until he showed up on screen.), but I suppose time was short.
The main downside at the beginning is that their accents are very thick and difficult for an American to understand. I'm wondering if it wouldn't have been easier with the subtitles on for that part. It's not hard to understand after the first scene though.
Much Ado about Nothing--set in the studio of a nightly news broadcast. This was my least favorite of the 4, but it was still very entertaining and captures the essence of the play very well.
The Taming of the Shrew--shows Kate as a modern politician famous for her bad temper. Her sister is a famous model/actress. Rufus Sewell is brilliant as Kate's suitor. I absolutely adored this version.
Shirley Henderson as Kate is completely over the top. I've always liked Sewell, but this really showed his range as an actor to me. He is something else here, something more. I'm even more in love with him than I was before, and it has nothing to do with the mini-skirt, heels, and mascara--although he pulls those off extremely well. (You just have to watch.)
A Midsummer Night's Dream--set in a wooded vacation resort. I loved the way the updating made the story so relatable. I think I never really got this play in the original or the remakes that I've seen. In this one I finally understood the point of all the different plotlines. Imelda Staunton does a fantastic job along with the other actors to make it real.
There you have it--my take on Shakespeare retold. The BBC is so brilliant. I was amazed at how true to the spirit of Shakespeare's originals these retellings were. They are completely modern, and yet they retain Shakespeare's genius and feel. I was very impressed and entertained.
Have any of you already seen these? What did you think?