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Two virtuoso performances in one – Shakespeare's complete works presented in puppet form by a master of animation
Welcome to the Infinite Variety Show, where the Bard of Avon will perform his complete works in under five minutes. Only the buffest of Shakespeare buffs will spot all the references in this ingenious digest, which is still enjoyable even for mortal fools. Framed as an audition in front of a rather distracted Peter Hall (founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company), the film was also something of a try-out for animator Barry Purves.
After a decade at Cosgrove Hall working on children's programmes like Chorlton and the Wheelies and Wind in the Willows, Barry was keen to write and direct his own works. Clearly exploding with ideas and potential, Next was part of the same Channel 4 backed series that brought us Nick Park's Creature Comforts. A series of virtuoso shorts followed, including Screen Play (1992), Achilles (1995) and Tchaikovsky (2011), cementing his international reputation of a true master of stop motion animation.