The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (1623)

Your favourite bit, apart from A sad tale’s best for winter and she is the queen of curds and cream?

Mine’s got to be either let’s be red with mirth or If I might die within this hour, I have lived to die when I desire.

But for now let’s to a favourite theme of Willy’s showing angry middle-aged men as complete oafs. Sit back and listen to one proving it again and again.

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The Most Excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (1600)

Your favourite bit, aside from But love is blind, and lovers cannot see and All that glisters is not gold?

Mine’s got to be, apart from Portia’s acidic I’d rather be married to a death’s head with a bone in his mouth, Gratiano’s Let me play the fool: with mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

But hark, I sense a need for one more touch.

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The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1596)

Your favourite bit, aside from O, she doth teach the torches to shine bright! and But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

(I love Willy when he does the puppet word shadow order thing – okay, okay, I’ll keep practicing – remember that delicious Though hast by moonlight at her window sung from A Midsummer Night’s Dream a couple of posts back?)

Mine’s got to be the nurse dealing with the big sleep. But first it would be unfair not to bow to the boys who land some lovely love lines. Take Mercutio.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (1595)

Your favourite bit, aside from knowing a bank where the wild thyme blows, Methought I was enamoured of an ass, and My cherry lips have often kissed thy stones?

Mine’s got to be, apart from Oberon’s joyfully puerile And loos’d his love shaft smartly from his bow, pissed-off and indignant papa Egeus whinging about his daughter Hermia being courted by the relentless Lysander.

Sit back and enjoy wonder boy Lysander in action. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

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As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1599)

Your favourite bit, aside from the boinging Cupid have mercy!, the clichéd all the world’s a stage, and that gloomy Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything?

Mine’s got to be the frisky rat-tat-tat of love-struck cross-dresser Rosalind’s quick-fire questions.

A little game I like to play in my Lilliputian upper storey is, if she was addressing me (Cupid have mercy!), what would be my one-word answer? If I was her bosom buddy (Cupid have mercy!) Celia, that is.

Let’s remind ourselves of that randy ramble.

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The Tempest by William Shakespeare (1609)

Your favourite bit, aside from the clichéd I cried to dream again and brave new world that has such people in’t?

Mine’s got to be Caliban’s few words while basted on booze or, as he lovingly calls it, celestial liquor.

What tickles is the characteristic hallmarks of the drunk as he tries to give the also carted Stephano and Trinculo instructions on how to polish off Prospero [Caliban’s boss].

He’s truly bowsered. Or, as the irksome and obsequious Ariel puts the state, red-hot with drinking.

It’s all here. The frowning. The determined imperative. The repetition of idea. The aggression. You don’t have to see the play to see him swaying, lurching, finger-pointing.

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