Thinking Outside The Bard – Top 10 Shakespeare Adaptations with a Twist

To celebrate the DVD release of A Caribbean Dream in the UK on the 12th February, we’ve compiled a top 10 list of on-screen Shakespeare adaptations that take the classic plays out of their comfort zones. The Bard’s work has been transcendent through cinematic history and has inspired hundreds of retellings over its illustrious history but this time the story is flying south to the vibrant colour and entrancing heat of Barbados. Included below is a suggested list of films to help you explore a selection of those that have transported Shakespeare to the modern world.

Some of the more contemporary and exciting adaptations incorporate Shakespearian stories without you even knowing; West Side Story and 10 Things I Hate About You modernise his writing to excellent effect, even at times completely subverting the original casting or setting. To be able to alter Shakespeare’s original intentions in such drastic ways while respecting the story, is a testament to the lasting nature of his work, A Caribbean Dream aims to celebrate the old, while embracing the new and give the Bard a new lease of life; shaking off the dreary settings we’re so used to seeing his work portrayed in.

  1. A Caribbean Dream (2017)

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream

This beautiful re-imagining of Shakespeare’s magical fairy tale “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is set modern day, under a full moon and during a Caribbean Festival.

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  1. Cymbeline (2014)

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

A gritty story of a take-no-prisoners war between dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang. A drug kingpin is driven to desperate measures.

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  1. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.

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  1. Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

The neighbouring gardens of Montague and Capulet are at war, but the gnomes, Gnomeo and Juliet, are in love.

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  1. She’s the Man (2006)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

When her brother decides to ditch for a couple weeks, Viola heads over to his elite boarding school, disguised as him, and proceeds to fall for one of his soccer teammates, and soon learns she’s not the only one with romantic troubles.

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  1. O (2001)

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello

An update of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ with a young cast, set in an upper-class prep school, & centred around basketball player Odin.

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  1. 10 Things I Hate about You (1999)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

A pretty, popular teenager can’t go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does.

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  1. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

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  1. The Lion King (1994)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Lion cub and future king Simba searches for his identity. His eagerness to please others and penchant for testing his boundaries sometimes gets him into trouble.

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  1. West Side Story (1961)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

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