I disagree with the idea that the only good version is the one you construct in your head. In particular, i think the comedies do come to life off the page and on the stage - I saw the Midsummer Night's Dream that has just finished at the Lyric in Hammersmith and spent most of it laughing - not in that, i know there's a joke coming kind of 'knowing ho ho ho' way but in genuine surprise.i dont think theres such a thing as a good shakespeare performance. just read them.
I think reverence is the death of Shakespeare on the stage and i think the braver you are with the editing the better.
Obviously do read them but they are not novels instead they are road maps for
performance. The very best understanding i have ever got of a play is by seeing it well played.
However, my very worst experiences of Shakespeare have also been in the theatre - I hated Macbeth at The Globe the other year and could have walked away from As You Like it at Stratford if it hadn't been for a very attractive actress playing a very minor role.
Looking forward to What Country... set of plays (Tempest/12th Night/Comedy of Errors) with same cast at the Roundhouse in June. http://www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/themes/what-country-friends-is-this.aspx