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Shakespeare: The Animated Tales.

The Bard of Avon might seem an unlikely candidate to have his works presented in animation, but half a dozen of his most famous plays have been adapted in this manner with admirable results. Aimed at an audience age 10 and up, abridged to 30 minutes by Shakespearean scholar Leon Garfield, and illustrated in a variety of styles by the Russians Soyuzmultform studio, they should help whet youngsters' appetites for full-length theatrical presentations.

Neither the elaborately painstaking frame-by-frame animation made famous by Walt Disney nor the limited style that all too often haunts Saturday morning cartoon shows, these are artistically rendered to fit the mood of the play. For example, "Hamlet" is done in a dark, almost woodblock style; "Twelfth Night" and "Romeo and Juliet" are lighter, more romantic; and "The Tempest" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream' depict their more fanciful characterizations - spirits, elves, and magically transformed humans - in drawings appropriate to their themes. The most striking by far is "Macbeth," with dark, jagged images overflowing with blood as murder piles on murder. Using outstanding actors to provide the voices - for instance, Alec McCowen narrates "Macbeth," while Brian Cox and Zoe Wannamaker speak for the Scottish lord and his wife, all veterans of England's Royal Shakespeare Company - lends authenticity and drama to the productions.
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Author:Rothenberg, Robert S.
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Video Recording Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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