Renaissance woman, Natasha Lavender, shares 5 things she loves about The Bard on screen. #1   Ten Things I Hate About You A comedy of love and underhand negotiations, this sees The Taming of the Shrew transported to an American high school. When popular Bianca is forbidden from dating before her antisocial sister Kat (Julia Stiles), […]

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Renaissance woman, Natasha Lavender, shares 5 things she loves about The Bard on screen.

#1   Ten Things I Hate About You

A comedy of love and underhand negotiations, this sees The Taming of the Shrew transported to an American high school. When popular Bianca is forbidden from dating before her antisocial sister Kat (Julia Stiles), her wannabe-suitor Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) must find someone to win feisty Kat’s heart. Enter bad-boy Patrick (pre-Joker Heath Ledger) whose rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ will have everyone swooning. The quick-wit, nineties outfits and perky soundtrack of 10 Things I Hate About You make it an enlivened retelling of a timeless tale.

#2   Shakespeare in Love

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, and with a few sonnets for good measure. Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is struggling for inspiration when he meets Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), an aspiring actress. Viola is cast as Romeo, but their affair is doomed when she is promised to creepy Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Funny, romantic and moving, this film gives Shakespeare sex appeal.

#3   West Side Story

Another reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, this classic musical is set on the streets of New York, where the Sharks, led by Bernardo, are fighting for dominance over rival gang the Jets. However, when ex-Shark Tony and Bernado’s sister Maria meet and fall in love, disaster awaits both sides. A slick array of powerful songs and superb dance sequences make for an edgy and moving retelling.

#4   The Lion King

A controversial inclusion, this Disney classic was loosely based on Hamlet. Some protest that comparing a masterpiece to a film about flatulent warthogs is an offense against literature. Granted, Simba is less brooding than his counterpart, but scenes featuring animals performing uplifting musical numbers was just what was missing from the less than cheerful original.

#5   She’s the Man

This take on Twelfth Night follows ‘soccer’ player Viola (Amanda Byrnes), who is enraged when her team is dropped by the misogynistic coach. To teach them a lesson she takes her twin brother’s place on the team at a rival school, but accidentally falls for teammate Duke (Channing Tatum). Cue enough confusion, slapstick and indecent exposure to leave even Shakespeare in stitches.

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