The Independent – September 26th, 2008
A tasty snack with genius.

The front cover of Ben Crystal’s new book makes daring claims. A glowing recommendation from Dame Judi Dench calls it “brilliantly enjoyable”. The title is explained inside: “[This book] is quick, easy, straightforward, and good for you. Just like beans on toast.” It is a good job the book is so compelling, or the author would look like a blinking idiot…
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The Times – September 20th, 2008
You gotta love a writer who opens his book with action hero lines and stage directions for Hamlet the Terminator (“shoots Polonius with an Uzi… lights his cigar, castle explodes”).

You can dismiss it as dumbed-down Shakespeare if you like…
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The Guardian – January 31st, 2009
At first this seems insufferable: a matey attempt to make Shakespeare “relevant”, to rescue him from being considered as boring old “Literature with a capital L”…
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The Sydney Morning Herald – February 7th, 2009 – Pick of the Week
If you have a friend of member of your family who is about to study Shakespeare and they find the Elizabethan English and profound poetic utterances intimidating, then this book should be read before attempting the greatest intellectual journey that literature can offer.

Alternatively, if you have read Shakespeare or seen a Shakespearean play and you have not been swept off your feet by the sheer power and beauty of the drama and the language, then you, too, should read this book.
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Folger Magazine – Spring 2009
Notions that Shakespeare is stuffy, elitist, or just plain boring are knocked soundly on their heads in this engaging look at Shakespeare’s plays, characters, and language.
[Click Here To Read full review] – June 2009
By analysing Shakespeare’s language (from his use of pronouns to his choice of insults), Crystal’s explanations fizz and sparkle with educated clarity and infectious enthusiasm. One for all ages.
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The British Theatre Guide – January 2009
He is hardly the first person to attempt it, but Ben Crystal does an excellent job of demystifying Shakespeare, perhaps unique in his desire to do so on behalf of the hip-hop generation.

In addition to training as an actor, the author has studied English language and linguistics and already co-written a couple of books about the Bard, and, most usefully for these purposes, an analysis of Shakespeare’s Words.
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Around the Globe Magazine – Autumn 2008
If you’re a reader of Around the Globe, the chances are you’re not too scared of Shakespeare. But there are a lot of unfortunate Bardophobes out there, Ben Crystal tells us, and apparently his book is just the cure they need. At various points in Shakespeare on Toast Crystal reminds us that he used to be one of them – he “once wouldn’t be seen dead near a production of Shakespeare”. But now he’s seen the light, and, well, there’s no zealot like a convert…
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The Shakespeare Bookshop – December 2008
Ben Crystal will be familiar to readers as one half of the father and son double-act that brought us the brilliant Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion and The Shakespeare Miscellany. In Shakespeare on Toast he trades reference for irreverence with a much more personal book, aimed at encouraging…
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The School Librarian – Winter 2008
Highly recommended… Crystal states that he wants to ‘make Shakespeare’s works accessible without dumbing them down’ and this he does admirably…
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NATE – National Association for the Teaching of English – Autumn 2008
Ben Crystal will be known to many readers as the co-writer (with his father David Crystal) of Shakespeare’s Words and The Shakespeare Miscellany. In his latest book, he ‘knocks the stuffing from the staid old myth of Shakespeare’ according to the jacket blurb ‘in a breezy, accessible introduction to the greatest writer of plays’. As an actor he has no truck with idea of studying Shakespeare’s drama as anything other than a plays in performance…
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Times Educational Supplement – November 2008
‘Who’s afraid of William Shakespeare?’ asks the jacket cover of this little treasure rhetorically and concedes ‘just about everyone’. I remember Dame Helen Mirren claiming that “When you do Shakespeare they think you must be intelligent because they think you understand what you’re saying”, implying that even actors didn’t know what Shakespeare means half the time…
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The Independent Features Shakespeare on Toast – February 27th, 2009
In his latest book, Shakespeare on Toast, Crystal tries his damnedest as an actor, scholar and Shakespeare’s biggest fan to demystify the Bard for doubting 21st-century theatre-phobics. Crystal is a fine actor and not exactly quintessentially highbrow, and his enthusiastic comparisons of Shakespeare’s Globe to “a modern football match” and his plays to “Elizabethan soap opera” will have shocked those among Us who want to keep the riff raff out of the stalls…
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HushHourHash – October 30th, 2008
I was at Borders (Wheelock Place) recently and I was blissfully browsing when I came across a delightful book, “Shakespeare On Toast – Getting A Taste For The Bard” written by Ben Crystal. The size of the book, the paper stock and texture, and the irreverent cover design somehow reminded me of Stephen Fry’s book, “The Ode Less Travelled”, which had the noble intention of making poetry more accessible…
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Civilian Reader – November 28th, 2008
An enthusiast bursts the bubble of Shakespeare elitism, opening its doors to all

Crystal romps through the facts about Shakespeare’s life in under fifteen pages and then dismisses them with a cool ‘I don’t care who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays.’ He then launches into a pithy and witty account of what Elizabethan life was like, what it would have been like going to the theatre in Shakespeare’s time, and why exactly he wrote in poetry anyway…
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In The News – October 18th, 2008
In a nutshell…
Enjoyable, light-hearted, accessible guide to Shakespeare. What’s it all about?
Shakespeare On Toast
is a step-by-step manual to unlocking the ‘difficult bits’ of Shakespeare, and bringing his works to life. Covering everything from context to metre, Crystal blows the cobwebs from the Bard and reveals his plays for what they are: thrilling and uplifting drama…
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The Bookbag – October 2008
Shakespeare on Toast claims to be for virtually everyone: those that are reading Shakespeare for the first time, occasionally finding him troublesome, think they know him backwards or have never set foot near one of his plays but have always wanted to…
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Library Thing – July 2009
There are LOTS of Shakespeare books out there but this one is one of the most easiest to read. Ben Crystal gives you the opportunity to study Shakespeare’s work and realise that while it looks difficult, it is actually not that complicated when you begin to think about it a bit more…
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Libby Walkup Reviews The Bath Literature Festival Talk – March 8th, 2009
The large second floor room was full for actor and author Ben Crystal (Shakespeare on Toast) and rightly so. His energetic talk brought life and meaning to his book, which is what he wanted to do with Shakespeare for the masses. An actor and teacher, he saw Will S’s words falling through the cracks in productions, so he brought his dad, a linguist, to decipher the Original Pronunciation or OP. This was a combination of three things, rhyme scheme, spelling and guess work…
[Click Here To Read full review] Reviews The Bath Literature Festival Talk – March 7th, 2009
The Bath Literature Festival is well underway, attracting hordes of word-lovers and writers to the Georgian city. While poetry aficionados and perplexed tourists crowded into the innovative Poetry Taxi outside Bath Abbey, others, including…
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