Michael Pennington’s solo show about Shakespeare, Sweet William, has been acclaimed throughout Europe and in the US as a unique blend of showmanship and scholarship. In this book, he deepens his exploration of Shakespeare’s life and work – and the connection between the two – that lies at its heart.
It is illuminated throughout by the unrivalled insights into the plays that Pennington has gained from the twenty thousand hours he has spent working on them as a leading actor, an artistic director and a director – and as the author of three previous books on individual Shakespeare plays.
‘Michael Pennington is a great Shakespearian actor who writes with the authority of an academic. His book analyses the plays, the characters and the playwright’s life. It will intrigue, entertain and challenge students, actors and their audiences. It undoubtedly leads the field in modern Shakespeare scholarship’ Ian McKellen
‘There are very few who can bring to Shakespeare the thoughts that are born in the burning heart of hard-earned experience. Michael Pennington not only knows what he means, he has the writer’s talent to put this into irresistibly readable words.’ Peter Brook
‘The most important and best set of original Shakespeare essays that I have read in over thirty years… Pennington is blessed with an ideal combination of talents and experiences… a wonderful book.’
— Speaking English
‘Brilliantly illuminating… A detailed, celebratory, highly readable investigation… it will give pleasure to the curious audience member and provide insights and inspiration for the actor, director or student’
— Around the Globe magazine
‘Brimming with insight, wit and passion, this book has something to offer everyone from scholars and actors just starting out, to avid theatre-goers’
‘Michael Pennington’s book will excite and enchant his readers and undoubtedly give them a better knowledge and understanding of the works of the Bard, whether they are newcomers, casual fans, fellow actors or devoted academics.’
— British Theatre Guide
‘I can’t remember when I learned so much from a single volume as I have from Michael Pennington’s engaging, absorbing, congenial, informative new book Sweet William. … Sometimes he’s anecdotal, often lyrical, always thoughtful and occasionally laugh-aloud funny. Pennington’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in Shakespeare from almost any angle – actor, drama student, teacher, director, technician, literature student or audience member.’
— The Stage