Introduction: Shakespeare and the Theatre Critic c.1700 Colley Cibber on Thomas Betterton as Hamlet c.1738-9 Thomas Davies on Cibber as Justice Shallow in 2 Henry IV (?1744-68) Thomas Davies and James Boaden on David Garrick and Mrs Pritchard in Macbeth (uncertain date) Thomas Davies on Garrick as King Lear 1774-5 Georg Christoph Lichtenberg on Garrick as Hamlet 22 May 1776 Henry Bate on Garrick as King Lear (uncertain date) Charles Lamb on Robert Bensley as Malvolio and James William Dodd as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night (uncertain date) Sir Walter Scott on John Philip Kemble as Macbeth and in Coriolanus's death scene (uncertain date) Julian Charles Young on Kemble as Coriolanus and Sarah Siddons as Volumnia in Coriolanus 15 Feb. 1814 William Hazlitt on Edmund Kean as Richard III 27 Feb. 1814 Thomas Barnes on Kean as Richard III 14 Mar. 1814 Hazlitt on Kean as Hamlet 21 Jan. 1816 Hazlitt on A Midsummer Night's Dream, adapted by Frederic Reynolds, with music by Sir Henry Bishop 4 Nov. 1816 Leigh Hunt on Kean as Timon of Athens 21 Dec. 1817 John Keats on Kean as a Shakespearian actor; with John Hamilton Reynolds on Kean as Richard Duke of York (in the Merrivale adaptation of the three Henry VI plays) 4 Oct. 1818 Leigh Hunt on Kean as Othello 31 Oct. 1819 Leigh Hunt on William Charles Macready as Richard III 5 Dec. 1819 Leigh Hunt on Macready as Coriolanus 25 Apr. 1820 anon. review of Kean as King Lear c.1832 James E. Murdoch on Kean as Posthumus in Cymbeline c.1837 Helena Faucit on herself as Hermione, with Macready as Leontes, in The Winter's Tale 14 Fen. 1838 John Forster on Macready as King Lear 18 Mar. 1838 Forster on Macready as Coriolanus 1844 James Robinson Planche's description on Ben Webster's neo-Elizabethan The Taming of the Shrew 15 Oct. 1853 Henry Morley on A Midsummer Night's Dream produced by Samuel Phelps 3 Sept. 1854 Morley on Phelps's Pericles 1856 Theordor Fontane on Kean's production of The Winter's Tale 24 Apr. 1858 anon. review of Kean's production of (and performance in) King Lear (uncertain date) Henry Austin Clapp on Charlotte Cushman as Queen Katharine in Henry VIII 10 Apr. 1875 Joseph Knight on Tommaso Salvini as Othello Jan. 1879 Edward Dutton Cook on Henry Irving as Hamlet (uncertain date) William Winter on Irving as Shylock 8 Nov. 1880 anon. Times review of Edwin Booth as Hamlet 6 July 1895 Bernard Shaw on The Two Gentlemen of Verona, produced by Augustin Daly 15 July 1895 Shaw on Daly's A Midsummer Night's Dream (uncertain date) Winter on Ada Rehan as Kate in The Taming of the Shrew 2 Oct. 1897 Shaw on Johnston Forbes-Robertson as Hamlet 1898 William Archer on Julius Caesar produced by Herbert Beerbohm Tree 5 Feb. 1898 St John Hankin on Julius Caesar produced by Herbert Beerbohm Tree 30 Sept. 1899 Max Beerbohm on Beerbohm Tree's production of King John 13 Nov. 1899 anon. review of Richard II produced by William Poel 4 De. 1899 C. E. Montague on Frank Benson as Richard II 30 May 1903 Beerbohm on Much Ado About Nothing with Ellen Terry as Beatrice and designs by Gordon Craig 7 Nov. 1903 Beerbohm on The Tempest at the Court Theatre, London 8 Apr. 1905 Beerbohm on H. B. Irving as Hamlet 28 Sept. 1912 John Palmer on The Winter's Tale directed by Harley Granville-Barker 1 Jan. 1922 Granville-Barker on Twelfth Night directed (in French) by Jacques Copeau 20 Nov. 1922 Stark Young on John Barrymore as Hamlet 1923 Herbert Farjeon on Nigel Playfair's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, with Edith Evans as Mistress Page 30 Aug. 1925 Hubert Griffith on Hamlet directed by Barry Jackson 30 Sept. 1933 Virginia Woolf, on Twelfth Night directed by Tyrone Guthrie 18 Nov. 1934 James Agate on John Gielgud as Hamlet in his own production 17 Oct. 1935 Agate on Gielgud's production of Romeo and Juliet, with Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft, Laurence Olivier, and Edith Evans 12 Nov. 1937 John Mason Brown on Orson Welles's production of Julius Caesar 1944 Ronald Harwood on Donald Wolfit as Lear 1947 Kenneth Tynan on Olivier as Richard III 1947 Tynan on Olivier and Ralph Richardson in Henry IV, Parts One and Two 1947 T. C. Worsley on Guthrie's production of Henry VIII 1950 Richard David on Measure for Measure directed by Peter Brook, with Gielgud and Barbara Jefford 1955 Evelyn Waugh on Titus Andronicus directed by Brook, with Olivier as Titus 1959 John Russell Brown on All's Well that Ends Well directed by Guthrie 1959 Laurence Kitchin on Olivier as Coriolanus, directed by Peter Hall 1962 Kitchin on Brook's production of King Lear with Paul Scofield as Lear 1964 Ronald Bryden on Olivier as Othello 27 Aug. 1965 Bryden on Peter Hall's production of Hamlet with David Warner as Hamlet 1970 Robert Speaight on Brook's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream 1973 Peter Thomson on Richard II directed by John Barton 1976 Roger Warren on Macbeth, directed by Trevor Nunn, with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench 1978 Warren on Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Barton 29 June 1984 Stanley Wells on Antony Sher as Richard III, directed by Bill Alexander 1985 Nicholas Shrimpton on a production of the first quarto version of Hamlet 1985 Warren on Howard Davies's production of Troilus and Cressida at Stratford-upon-Avon 1986 Wells on Henry IV, Parts One and Two, and Henry V, directed by Michael Bogdanov 11 Apr. 1987 Michael Billington on Antony and Cleopatra directed by Peter Hall 1987 Wells on Titus Andronicus, directed by Deborah Warner at Stratford-upon-Avon 1989 R. L. Smallwood on Othello, directed by Trevor Nunn at Stratford-upon-Avon 3 Oct. 1990 Paul Taylor on The Tempest, directed by Brook 6 Dec. 1991 Taylor on As You Like It, directed by Declan Donellan for Cheek by Jowl 1993 Peter Holland on Richard III, directed by Barrie Rutter for The Northern Broadsides 1996 Smallwood on The Comedy of Errors, directed by Tim Supple Index
Stanley Wells is general editor of the Oxford Shakespeare and co-editor of the Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare.
`Wells published this garland upon his retirement; rather than accept presents, he has bestowed a charming going-away gift of his own' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol.32, No.4 `Students entering the world of theatre history would benefit from this compilation; it would profit many a director as well' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol.32, No.4 `provides a wealth of information. Taken together, the best commentaries fire the imagination while delivering a master class in doing Shakespeare' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol.32, No.4 `Read straight through, this anthology reveals major trends in adapting Shakespeare ... The collection also allows one to turn up wonderful hidden surprises. Browsers will find their own favourites' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol.32, No.4 `collects eighty illuminating appraisals of Shakespearean performances between 1700 and 1996 ... Wells has made savvy choices, and annotated them with care; what results is an enticing grand tour through three centuries of post-Renaissance playing' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol.32, No.4 `very useful for its wealth of details about acting styles, and especially for the brief annotations Wells offers to each essay, explaining allusions and circumstances that might be lost to general (and even specialist) readers' SEL, 41,2 (Spring 2001) `wonderfully vivid descriptions of embodied Shakespeare from the early eighteenth-century ... to the present ... Wells's compilation inaugurates the 'Oxford Shakespeare Topics', a promising series of short, sharp studies.' Plays International, Sept/Oct. 2000.