cover image Beginning


Kenneth Branagh. W. W. Norton & Company, $19.95 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-393-02862-1

Branagh acknowledges that it is presumptuous to write an autobiography at age 28, but he also notes that since youth has not deterred him from achieving his other goals, he might as well attempt this as well. He tells of his Irish family, his studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company and his later decision to leave that prestigious institution and form his own troupe, the Renaissance Theater Company. He has performed to critical acclaim all the major Shakespearean roles on stage, become a television star and directed and acted in a highly praised movie, Henry V . Branagh writes as he apparently lives, rushing from project to project. His book has charm because of the delight he takes in the theater and in working with such great actors as Derek Jacobi and Paul Scofield. In his role as an author, Branagh, rightly, is likely to garner yet more acclaim. (May)