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Series / Shakespeare Unwrapped

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Shakespeare Unwrapped is an Irish Edutainment Show designed to help English students studying the works of William Shakespeare. The show features Shakespeare expert Liam Halligan discussing the relevant play's themes and characterization with a panel of students - intercut with dramatized scenes from the play.

Season 1 is based off King Lear. The cast is notably all relatively young, which according to Word of God is to help make the material seem more relatable to the teenage audience.


  • Accent Relapse: Edgar affects an English-sounding accent as 'Poor Tom', but slips back into his natural dialect in the trial scene.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Due to the cast becoming younger, this is inevitable for Lear and Gloucester. Also Kent, who claims to be forty-eight in the play.
    • Oswald is commonly depicted as The Igor or else unpleasant looking. Here he's shown to be a bit of a Pretty Boy.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Regan is played much nicer than she usually is. In the wraparound segments, the students note that she seems somewhat sympathetic to Lear and seems a little sad when she sides with Goneril. The poisoning is played as an Alas, Poor Villain moment. Coincidentally she's Liam Halligan's favourite character in the play.
  • Adapted Out: The King of France, the Duke of Burgundy and various knights, servants and Spear Carriers are left out.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The setting is left deliberately vague. It's definitely meant to be taken as 'period', but Kent is wearing a modern hoodie, and the men wear rather 20th century black shirts.
  • The Artifact: Lines referencing Lear being old are still left in, despite him being played by a man in his twenties. Likewise a Union Jack is shown at the camp, despite most of the characters speaking with Irish accents.
  • Aside Glance: The 'aside' lines from the play are done with characters Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Beard of Evil: Inverted where the good characters Albany and Gloucester have full beards. The villains Edmund and Oswald are clean-shaven, and Cornwall only has a bit of stubble.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Downplayed but Cordelia wears make-up while the other two sisters do not.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three daughters. Cordelia (blonde), Regan (brunette) and Goneril (redhead).
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: As the cast are all played by twenty-somethings, they're all quite attractive.
  • Clark Kenting: Kent's disguise here is literally just wearing a hood. Edgar's disguise of dirt on his face and hair in his eyes is just slightly more believable.
  • The Coats Are Off: Cornwall throws off his coat before gouging Gloucester's eyes out.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each of the sisters wears a different colour sash around her dress.
  • Composite Character: Edmund takes the place of a couple of attendants and knights in certain scenes. He's also shown in the first scene, which he doesn't feature in the play.
  • Daylight Horror: The final scene - with all its death and tragedy - is shown happening in the middle of a sunny day.
  • Demoted to Extra: Albany appears in just three scenes, only one of which he has lines in.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Lear is shown dying in Edgar's arms.
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: The Fool is depicted barefoot. Edgar as well in his Poor Tom disguise.
  • Evil Brit: The Sociopath Cornwall is played by the only English actor in the cast.
  • Evil Redhead: This version depicts Goneril as cold, cruel and ruthless. Also with red hair.
  • Evil Wears Black: Oswald and Cornwall - the only characters without redeeming qualities or sympathetic motives - are also the only characters wearing all black.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • Gloucester wears his hair down after his blinding.
    • Edgar has his hair in his eyes when he disguises himself.
    • Cordelia's hair is worn slightly differently for her return in Act IV, showing she's now in power as the Queen of France.
    • Kent's hair is in his eyes when he's disguised, and pulled back when he's himself.
  • Eye Scream: Notably this version shows Cornwall pulling the eye out of Gloucester's head!
  • Gentle Giant: Kent is the tallest cast member, and of course the most heroic character (after Cordelia).
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Gloucester's second eye being taken out is done this way. We just see Regan's delighted reaction.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The sweet and saintly Cordelia is shown as a blonde. Averted with Cornwall, who has fair hair and is a complete sociopath.
  • Heroic Build: Edgar as the future king is depicted with this.
  • Hollywood Darkness: The stocks scene is shot this way.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Lear has a tendency to widen his eyes when he's furious, thus creating this effect. Most notably during the storm scene. Goneril has blue eyes too, and they're used to the same effect.
  • In the Hood: Kent's disguise consists of this.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Cordelia has blue eyes too, and they help convey her goodness. Regan's blue eyes meanwhile exploit this, showing her as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Kubrick Stare: Goneril delivers one to Lear while she's casting him out of the house.
  • Light Is Good: Any 'good' characters have white in their costumes. Gloucester has a white scarf, The Fool has white suspenders, Kent has a white hood and Edgar wears a white shawl in his Poor Tom disguise. Cordelia of course wears a white coat
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Discussed in the wraparound panel, where the students note that Regan is constantly trying to outdo Goneril.
  • The Napoleon: Cornwall here is notably shorter than Kent. Doesn't stop him from antagonising him though.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Cornwall gets in rather close when he's threatening Gloucester and Kent. He even steps his foot between Gloucester's legs and strokes his face before ripping the eyes out.
  • Seasonal Motif: During the storm sequence, rain and snow fly past and the colours visibly switch from summery to autumnal.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Cordelia wears the same black dress as her sisters in the first scene. When she returns as the Queen of France, she's now wearing a white coat. Notably making her the only character wearing white.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: How Cordelia plays her Brutal Honesty during the love test. The panel of students even point out that her stubbornness is a flaw.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Cornwall puts Kent in the stocks, he barely raises his voice, but his anger is apparent.
  • Wham Shot: Cornwall is pulling at Gloucester's face...and rips the eye straight out of his head.
  • Younger and Hipper: All the cast members are in their twenties, as a way of making the material more relatable to students.