National Poetry Month is winding down, and we’ve been celebrating Shakespeare all month to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death. As April draws to a close, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the Bard’s best sonnets, as recited by famous actors. When I started my search, I soon discovered that the same 5 sonnets have been recited and recorded over and over again. There were lots of options to choose from, but I had a hard time deciding who read it best. I’m going to give you my picks, but I’m curious to see what you think. Take a listen, then tell me who read it best.
My pick: David Tenant read it best. I must admit, though, that I am partial to his Scottish accent.
My pick: I’m not familiar with either of these actors, so I didn’t have any bias going into this. I think Paterson Joseph read it best. The presentation of Macfadyen’s reading – working the sonnet into a scene the way they do – was very distracting. Maybe it was a movie clip?
My pick: I’m sorry, Patrick Stewart. I’m going to have to go with Juliet Stevenson’s reading this time around. It had a gentler feel. It was more lyrical, and I think that best suits the sonnet.
My pick: Both readings are pretty amazing, but there is something about Ralph Fiennes that I find irresistible. I think his pacing is perfect for the sonnet and what it has to say. And those last lines were spot-on. He’s good. Really good.
My pick: In the great match-up between Harry Potter and Severus Snape, I am going to have to call it a draw. That may be the coward’s way out, but I just can’t choose. If you have a favorite, make a case for it in the comments.
Bonus: Sir John Gielgud – Sonnets 18, 116, and 130