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Reduced Shakespeare: The Attention-impaired Readers Guide to the World's Best Playwright
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Reduced Shakespeare: The Attention-impaired Readers Guide to the World's Best Playwright

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  57 reviews
From the theater troupe whose sidesplitting production The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] is the longest-running comedy in London's history comes an openly hysterical, yet surprisingly informative, guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the Bard of Avon

Love Shakespeare Youll like this book. Hate Shakespeare Youll love this book. From the theatr

Hardcover, First edition, 256 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Hachette Books
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Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shakespeare
Hilarious. It's a down-to-earth look at Shakespeare's works, his legacy, and how biographies of him are 90% speculation (read: bullshit). The authors describe Shakespeare's life (as much of it as is known, anyway), summarize his plays, and even discuss who might have actually been responsible for writing Shakespeare's plays, and they do it all in frank, lighthearted language. They describe As You Like It as "Desperate Housewives set in the forest of Arden" and write things like, "Cymbeline seems ...more
Julie H.
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Martin and Tichenor's Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention Impaired [abridged] is as hilarious as it is irreverent. As a Muggle (as opposed to a literary scholar, let alone producer, actor, or adapter of Shakespearean works for stage, screen, or sock puppet), I adored this collection. This book is as silly as it is informative, and was just the right mix of fact and frivolity in an otherwise stressful week. While it would be impossible to identify a favorite bit, I will note ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
From two of the guys that brought us the Reduced Shakespeare Company [and the hysterical show The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)], comes this very funny and surprisingly informational book on the bard himself.

The book lampoons Shakespeare's bio, his plays, his sonnets, movies, basically everything we know about him. It also provides every important fact we know about him also (at one point even apologizing for the lack of jokes found on a page). It's very clever and parodies ev
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
My adoration of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, and the fact that I teach teenagers, led me to start using this book more than I probably ought to. It is insightful, clever and invariably honest, for instance they explain that "the entire Shakespeare industry consists of people simply guessing about who Shakespeare was and what he wrote." And refer to the whole genre as a tale "told by idiots".

Marin and Tichenor are much more than idiots. They have a comprehensive knowledge of Shakespeare (turn
Cricket Muse
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is as the title states: Reduced Shakespeare. And just like the irreverent troupe who entertains and surprisingly educates the audience about Shakespeare, it is witty, saucy, sassy, and amazingly informative.

It veers quite nicely from being a stuffy academic tome, there are plenty of those out there, and is a playful treatise of Shakespeare. The New York Times review blurb claims: "Intellectual vaudeville." I would agree.
Diana Prince
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable, informational, and hilarious read.
Susan Liston
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another overlooked tome of mine I found with a ten year old receipt inside. The usual book-about-Shakespeare...a bio, synopsis of the plays, recommendations for filmed versions. Only with jokes. Anyone familiar with the Reduced Shakespeare Co. will know what to expect...some groaners, and some extremely funny. Overall, quite entertaining. (Oh, and no overwrought reverence here, if they think a play is boring or el stinko, they will say so.)
Stephanie Kiefer
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Witty and engaging.
Glenn Proven
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, comedy
Factual yet irreverent. Humorous but respectful.
Michael Paynter
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lovingly sarcastic skewering of the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon, sure to delight the casual Shakespeare fan and the avid theatergoer alike.
A fun quick read with some informational gems.
I skipped Shakespeare's Films chapter.
Gregory Ashe
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Witty and funny. Having read the Complete Works of William Shakespeare this past Spring/Summer, this book was a humorous denouement. The authors will be happy to know that I laughed out loud on several occasions!
Danielle Mintzlaff
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun book.
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
so charming and very informative without making you feel like an idiot
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
If you've never seen the Reduced Shakespeare Company, you really owe it to yourself to get out to one of their performances at the first available opportunity. They're kind of like the Flying Karamazov brothers only with less props. If they don't make stops to any theaters near you, see if you can get a hand on any of their relatively recently published playscripts (or better still, their radio program as a book-on-CD).

I was inspired to borrow from the library everything of theirs I could find a
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
First, this book is very funny. Probably as funny as the guys planning their own little play in "Midsummer Night's Dream" when it's performed well. I enjoy funny and frequently give it 3 stars.

Second, this book has a lot of great information. I took two or three classes in Shakespeare when I was in college and this book not only covered a LOT of the history and mystery of Shakespeare that I knew, but added to what I had heard before. Yeah, while being funny. (Okay, so if you don't like getting y
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book gives an overview of pretty much any topic you can think of regarding Shakespeare. There are chapters on his life, his plays, how people act Shakespeare's work, the sonnets and epic poems, the authorship controversies, movie versions of the plays, etc. It's pretty impressive, really. I particularly enjoyed the chapter dealing with movie adaptations. The tone is almost manic in its slapstick humor (which got to be a little much for even me, hence the 4-star rather than 5-star rating), b ...more
Jane Greensmith
Mar 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Unadulterated fun and full of quotes like this one:

"History is filled with people you've never heard of, and every single one of them lived a life more recorded and better documented than the 'famous' William Shakespeare. It's maddening."

I liked the way the book ended--with the notion that part of Shakespeare's appeal is that we don't know much about his life. If we did, we might like him less. I think there's a lot of truth in that, and I think the same might apply to Austen, though we do know
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have never been attracted to reading any of Shakespeare's plays but was interested in why he has become so popular and who he was . I have read all the stories about who possibly wrote the plays and why he couldn't have been the author so I found this book by chance just wandering through the library one afternoon . Bingo! The perfect Shakespeare book for me, short to the point and written with wit this was such a surprisingly good book . So what do I know about Shakespeare now that I didn't b ...more
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
I was inspired after visiting the Folger Shakespeare Library to learn more about the plays I hadn't read, seen, or performed. I wasn't feeling up to reading the complete works, so when I saw this book for a dollar at a library sale, I thought it might just a be what I was looking for.
I prefer cerebral humor to slapstick and sarcasm, so the tone of this book got a little tiresome for me, but if that's your kind of humor, you'll love it. It gave a good enough overview of the plays and a decent hi
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book a lot. It made Shakespeare more accessible to me than I ever thought it could be. I have a starting place to see movies made from Shakespeare's plays, which plays to see live, and got a little introduction to his sonnets. My only issue with the book is that it can be difficult to tell fact from humor. I would not use this book to write a report or anything overly serious. ...more
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
(Error on page will not let me give this book 4 stars.)

Entertaining book about Shakespeare, his output and reviews/recommendations of which plays to watch/read/attend. Lots of humor in the book, although if you don't know enough about the material, you might interpret an attempt at a joke as fact.
George H
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great fun. A fast-paced, irreverent (but educational) romp through Shakespeare's complete works. I have a greater appreciation for what I've already read/seen, and a heightened interest in working my way through Shakespeare's entire catalogue.

As an aside...if you ever get a chance to see these guys (Reduced Shakespeare Company) perform live, run (don't walk) to the theatre.

Cory Howell
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very funny, very informative...but hey, I'd expect nothing less from the minds who brought us The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
Seriously, despite all the really funny stuff in the book, there's some very solid scholarship in a nice, concise format. Really one of my favorite Intro to Shakespeare guides.
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, 2007, booksandwords
Clever enough, but the pop culture references are going to become outdated soon enough.

I saw the play a few days after finishing this, and that's a much more enjoyable experience. Shakespeare nuts only need to buy this - but it's not a bad read.
May 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't even know where to start with this one! It's so hilarious. This book is insightful, informative, witty, inappropriate and amazing. You don't need to have read Shakespeare to enjoy this but if you have you're in for a treat! ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really good reference if you want to know a little bit about all of Shakespeare's plays, or which movies are worth watching. Sometimes they try a little too hard to be funny, but all in all a good read. ...more
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
For people who like Shakespeare and want to have some reading learning interesting new tidbits, I would definitely recommend this book. From the dudes that brought you The Complete Works of Shakespeare [abridged] - it's fun to read, fast moving and full of cool little facts. ...more
Mr. Pease
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An accurately and hilariously abridged guide to the works of the Bard. While the analysis and commentary of the works focus primarily on humor, as a quick reference to Shakespeare, this Reduced guide is surprisingly handy. Recommended for anyone who wants to have a little fun with Will.
Tracy Krauss
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! Truly. This one had me not only chuckling, but down and out belly laughing. Believe it or not it is also a great source of information on the Bard. This is one that can be read multiple times over.
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Reed Martin co-created and performed in the original productions of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged), Western Civilization: The Complete Musical (abridged), All The Great Books (abridged), and Completely Hollywood (abridged). He contributed additional material to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

Martin is a managing part

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