ROBERT TANITCH’S ROUND UP OF BOOKS No 8
THE QUEST FOR SHAKESPEARE’S GARDEN by Roy Strong (Thames & Hudson £14.95). Do you know a bank where the wilde thyme grows? Are you as mad about rosemary, fennel, columbines and rue as Ophelia was? Roy Strong’s quest for the restored garden at New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon has quotes from the plays and illustrations from Elizabethan gardening book, embroidered fabrics and hand-coloured herbals. You don’t have to be a gardener to enjoy the images.
KING LEAR IN BROOKLYN by Michael Pennington (Oberon Books £16.99). Pennington gives a very interesting account of rehearsing and playing King Lear in America. He manages to get inside the other characters’ heads and express their innermost thoughts in an entertaining modern way. He gives a detailed record of every actor’s bête noire, the carrying of the dead Cordelia on stage at the end. John Gielgud famously said that when casting Cordelia it was important that the actress should weigh as little as possible
SHAKESPEARE ON PAGE AND STAGE by Stanley Wells (Oxford University Press £20). Selected Essays. If you are a student, an actor, a director or a stage designer and if you are going to see or have just seen King Lear, Richard II, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Wells, is always a good read and you will be better informed. There are essays, too, on female roles played by boy actors and staging apparitions and dream visions.