I'm really torn about giving this three stars.I'm wavering between three or four.I love the fact that Josie Lawrence is in this.I really do.I was all set to give it four stars because of that.Yet, and this might be my ugly American side coming out, how can you have a chapter about Kate "the Shrew" and not mention Moonlighting?I know O'Connor's British, but that is no excuse.None.Sorry.
Overall, there really is not very knew or very groundbreaking in this book for the long time reader of Shakespeare.I found the most enlighting chapter to be the chapter on Shylock.O'Connor's tracing of various Shylock performances and the influence of culture upon them is very in-depth and he challenges long held precepations.
If you are a student of theatre or are interested in Shakespeare performance this is a good book.What really sells it are O'Connor's interviews with actors about constructing the characters. The use of the interviews gives the reader some insight into the acting process and continues, if indirectly, the argument of over how Shakespeare is being taught.
Re-editing this - Considering Newsweek's article about Rebakah Brooks, I find the Lady Macbeth chapter unintentionally timely.