The enduring appeal of Shakespeare is due to the rich and universal appeal of his stories. But with pontificating professors and stuffy scenery it can often be hard to try and crack into a play. However these directors have taken these classic Shakespeare stories and put a modern twist on them and hopefully will help them access them to a new generation…
Be warned the adjective ‘Great’ is used very loosely here…
Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Based on: Much Ado About Nothing
The Cliffnotes: A play about the gossip and the nothingness that splits up the relationship of Claudio and Hero and the love/hate between Benedict and Beatrice.
The Updates: Classic Shakespearean language is transplanted in a gorgeous modern day West Hollywood setting with Whedon behind the scenes and a fantastic group of comedic actors including Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof.
Westside Story (1961)
Based on: Romeo and Juliet
The Cliffnotes: Forbidden romance, warring families you probably already know the tragic romance but the violence and fighting scenes are really where it’s at.
The Updates: Instead of the Capulets and the Montagues there’s the Sharks and the Jets, a fire escape instead of a balcony in fair New York where we lay our scene…
She’s the man (2006)
Based on: Twelfth Night
Cliffnotes: Ok, so twins Viola and Sebastian are separated and Viola dresses up as a boy and then proceeds to fall in love with Orsino who is in love with Olivia who then proceeds to fall in love with Viola.
The updates: So it’s Amanda Bynes, 21st century and it centres around boarding schools somewhere in America. It’s corny and kind of terrible but the main body and the comedy of confusion is still there.
Lion King (1994)
Based on: Hamlet
The Cliffnotes: Uncle Claudius kills the King of Denmark, takes his place marries Hamlet’s mother. Hamlet seeks revenge, everybody dies.
The updates: Well, I don’t know if you know this but Lion King actually has lions in it and instead of Denmark Lion King takes place in Africa.
10 things I hate about you (1999)
The Cliffnotes: Lucenito is in love with Bianca but her father will not let her marry before her strong willed sister Katherina. This problem seem to be solved with the arrival of Petruchio a brash young man from Verona who they rope in as her suitor.
The updates: This early 00s comedy has all the hallmarks of it’s genre. And it features a great performance from a young Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
The Cliffnotes: You know this by now come on…
The updates: It’s Verona Beach and a modern update, this Baz Luhrman classic updates the scenery but keeps the language.