I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I hesitated getting a long collection of plays in audio, concerned it might be too dry or boring. This collection of eight Shaw plays was performed wonderfully and was a joy to listen to. It turns out a collection of great plays is a really nice choice for a long drive with the family. These plays are still witty and penetrating. The casting is excellent with different enough voices to allow the characters to be clear. There are a few cases of stage-craft that you lose in audio-only; nevertheless the experience is well worth the time. This was the first collection of audible plays I have ordered, but having enjoyed it so much, I just ordered several more collections from the same theater company.
This is a collection of five live performances of Oscar Wilde plays. All of these were wonderful. My favorites were Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. The Picture of Dorian Gray was not really an Oscar Wilde play but an adaptation of the novel which used lines dialog from other Wilde plays, which was only disappointing because of just having heard the identical lines in the other, preceding plays. This was the best adaptation of Dorian Gray that I have either seen or heard. The performances are very good and the writing is both funny and engaging. This is one of the best collections of plays I have listened to.
Overall this was a wonderfully performed set of Noel Coward plays. I have listened to a number of plays on Audible and LA Theater Works knows how to produce plays for audio. This set of plays has a couple of great plays, several pleasant plays, and a couple of short plays that are witty, but not very interesting. My favorites of this set of plays were Design For Living and Blithe Spirit, both are first rate plays and excellent performances. These recordings really gave me the feeling of experiencing a live performance.
Fallen Angels is not a very deep play, but was wonderfully acted and quite funny. Hay Fever was even lighter, and my least favorite of the full plays in this set, nevertheless it was still well produced and worth the listen.
The plot of Private Lives is rather thin but the characters and dialog are both well written and well acted. Present Laughter is funny and has a bit of depth that makes it interesting.
There were two short plays Design for Rehearsing which is likely enjoyable if you have actually performed as an actor in Design for Living and Age Cannot Wither which has some wit but otherwise seems to be a one trick pony.
Although I could take or leave a bunch of these plays, the two great plays and a few others very good plays along with the uniformly good production values made this recording well worth the listen.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Listening to Charlton Griffin's reading of Richmond Lattimore's translation of The Iliad was a wonderful experience.
Griffin is good at modifying the pitch and tone of his voice to evoke the different genders and ages and moods and agendas of the various characters. He brings the epic to life. He even makes fascinating the 90-minute introduction by scholar Herbert J. Muller. And the sound effects (ravens cawing over a battlefield) and Greek mood music introducing and concluding the 24 books of the epic immersed me in its world.
As for Homer's story, an epic focused on a short slice of a long war, a tragedy with plenty of humor, it is rewardingly rich, depicting the appalling heroism and horror of war, the full range of human nature (from bravery to cowardice, brutality to mercy, destruction to creation, and hatred to love), the richness of ancient Greek culture, the pettiness and power of the gods, and the mortality and wonder of life. Among the most impressive moments are Hector's meeting with his wife and baby before going out to fight, Hephaestus' crafting of a shield with the heavens and earth and all of human endeavor animated upon it, and Achilles' inability to embrace the ghost of Patroclus in a dream. I hope the following quotation will give an idea of the excellence of Lattimore's translation and the depth of Homer's vision:
As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity,
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.
In conclusion, I thoroughly savored this audio version of The Iliad, often smiling with appreciation for Homer's story, Lattimore's translation, and Griffin's reading. I highly recommend it.