About the Author
Simon Russell Beale is a young actor with a string of major RSC successes behind him. His performance of Ariel in The Tempest was nominated for an Olivier Award. Other credits include Ferdinand in The Duchess of Malfi and Mosca in Valpone at the Royal National Theatre. For Naxos AudioBooks he has recorded Great Speeches and Soliloquies of Shakespeare, Popular Poetry and Verse and The Life of Oscar Wilde.
A short life of Shakespeare is particularly appropriate, given how little hard fact is knowable; this one is brief but particularly well suited to this series' format. Readings from the plays alternate here with Elizabethan music and with interesting fact or speculation on Shakespeare's parents, his marriage, and how his characters may have sprung from his surroundings and events of the times. Pearson is particularly good on Shakespeare's relationship with his queen (he did not like being ordered to show Falstaff in love). The commentary on the plays and Elizabethan theater is wise and interesting, if not always conclusive; the readers of the connective text and the play excerpts are marvelous. A delight. B.G. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine