Being Shakespeare has transferred to New York and it is fascinating to see that the critics have a completely different take on the show from that of their counterparts who have seen it across the UK and in the West End. They all love it, but they all focus on the Authorship Question: New York Times ("Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, the defense calls Simon Callow"), The New York Post ("All's Will, Ends Well"), New York Daily News, Washington Post ("makes it cool again to be smart"), Huffington Post ("restoring King Shakespeare"). The show never directly addresses it, though the programme note confronts it head-on. We didn't create the piece with the authorship dispute in mind, though the title under which it was first staged, The Man from Stratford, was a deliberate poke in the eye of the doubters. And last year's risible-if-good-to-look-at movie Anonymous, which maybe didn't bomb quite so much in the US as it did in the UK, has made it timely - "Eat your heart out, Roland Emmerich," as one of those smart Yankee reviewers puts it.
Jonathan Bate, Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature in the University of Oxford, is well known as a Shakespeare scholar, biographer, critic and broadcaster. He was previously Professor of Shakespeare & Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick.