Review Blog

Oct 17 2016

Twelfth night by William Shakespeare, retold by Terry Deary

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Terry Deary Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472917836
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Theatre. Another in Deary's retelling of Shakespeare's plays will help introduce this play to a new audience. One of his best loved plays, Twelfth night is often presented on the stage around the world and has been made into countless film adaptations.
Here it is presented as a story and stripped back to its bare essentials. John and Jane are at Richmond Palace to watch Master Shakespeare's latest play, 'Twelfth night'. Through their eyes we see the court and its splendour, Queen Elizabeth, now coming towards the end of her life, the courtiers pressing their advantage and the play set out before them. Their story and observations make a fascinating backdrop to the play which tells of deception, just as Lord Essex deceives the Queen. The two children could see that Essex and his armed men, were up to no good and using the suit of armour in the hall were able to defuse the plot by Essex's guards.
So the play continues, the parallels between what is actually happening and the play's plot gathering speed. Both come to a satisfactory conclusion and readers will have a sound grasp of the play, while infusing some details about Elizabethan life. A postscript about Essex's true attempts to overthrow Queen Elizabeth rounds off the short book. This is one in Deary's series presenting Shakespeare's plays in an abridged story version which will acquaint younger readers with an outline of each play. Behind the play presented is a story of young people involved in some way with the play, giving a perspective which will appeal to the readers.
Fran Knight

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