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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
The action-driven play Pericles, the Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare, as rendered in rhyming couplets of modern English by Paul Leonard Murray, director of the Belgrade English Language Theater, with input from his students, is just as exciting as the original, but it is also more accessible to EFL speakers, who might not otherwise enjoy the play as much. With all the skullduggery and the eponymous hero fleeing from an assassin hot on his trail, the work sounds more like the latest Frederick Forsyth thriller than it does a work first produced in Elizabethan times. As one in the series of books titled Silly Shakespeare for Students, Pericles, the Prince of Tyre is especially directed at making Shakespeare fun, not only for the actors in student dramatic productions but also even more notably for the audiences themselves who are likely to come from the wider student body, thus leading to the popularizing of the great bard’s texts.
Paul Leonard Murray definitely has as a primary focus of interest the staged presentation of Pericles, the Prince of Tyre rather than the printed text, which is so often the only resource that English language learners have to the work. The exuberance that he displays in making this modern-day adaptation come to life under his guidance is admirable. Prefacing the play itself with a succinct summary of the plot, directions as to playing style, and insightful illustrated input as to staging, from the start any producer and cast should feel at home with the play and feel competent regarding their ability to stage such a production. In short, it is a truly welcome addition to the pantheon of Shakespearean renditions.