Friday, April 24, 2015

(Tom Hiddleston, Matthew Macfadyen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen Mirren, Ralph Fiennes, David Tennant...) 12 British Actors Reading Shakespeare for Shakespeare Day

By Fraser McAlpine | Posted on April 23rd, 2015

Tom Hiddleston (Pic: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Tom Hiddleston (Pic: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

British actors have a particularly strong relationship with the works of Shakespeare, as they’ll have studied his plays when honing their stagecraft and possibly discovered some of their best thespian tricks while working out how to tackle Polonius or Caliban at a tender age.

So, as it’s Shakespeare Day and we love actors who love reading Shakespeare, here they are doing that very thing, starting with Tom Hiddleston reading the “if music be the food of love” speech from Twelfth Night:

And now, Dame Helen Mirren reading from Anthony & Cleopatra, in a special clip for BBC Newsnight. She has played the title role on stage three times, at the National Youth Theatre in 1965, for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1983, and at the National Theatre in 1998:

Or, for people with short attention spans, here’s David Tennant reading a collection of Shakespeare’s greatest hits in verse, performing “Sonnet 2,” “Sonnet 7,” “Sonnet 9,” “Sonnet 17,” “Sonnet 18,” “Sonnet 11,” “Sonnet 14″ and “Sonnet 154:”

Continuing the theatrical metaphors from earlier, here’s Benedict Cumberbatch reading “The Seven Ages of Man” speech from As You Like It, which contains some wonderful descriptive moments, ripe for reuse, including “mewling and puking” and “the lean and slippered pantaloon”:

Poor Matthew Macfadyen is feeling a bit down in the dumps because he’s not a success in his chosen field. This bothers him enough to start reciting the apposite “Sonnet 29″ in a cafe, until, just at the point at which the poet reminds him of his true love, she appears. Then everything is right as rain:

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