I think that reading Shakespeare's plays does not do them justice - they aren't meant to be read, they are meant to be performed, and seen performed. However, you also miss a lot if you aren't already familiar with the context and the Shakespearean language, because of course ol' Will packs a lot into every single line.
So, this is the famous play about the conspirators who assassinated Julius Caesar, fearing his ambition to become king. Among the famous lines to which we owe this play: "Et tu, Brutus?" "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!" "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." And "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."
Mark Antony's speech is probably the highlight of the play. Having just been informed of Caesar's death, and with the assassins having convinced the Roman public that they'd saved Rome from a tyrant, Mark Antony gives his famous speech which is a masterpiece of mob manipulation, turning them against the conspirators and in favor of the slain Caesar.
The conflicts are patriotism versus friendship, loyalty versus ideals, and the taint of self-interest always present in one's motives. As a tragedy, this is one of those Shakespearean plays where almost everyone ends up falling on a sword one way or the other.
Brutus is clearly the protagonist, but I think Mark Antony wins it.
Performances were clear and dramatic in this production. Not quite as good as seeing the play, but all the action is clear enough with minimal sound effects.
An Ideal Husband is my favorite of Wilde's works, and I chose to listen to this version specifically because it was presented as an audio version of the play. And were it not for Yeardley Smith as Mabel, I would have given this 5 stars. Unfortunately, I had a rather nails-on-the-chalkboard reaction to Yeardley Smith's voice. That's what I get for not listening to the sample, I suppose. I'll probably listen to An Ideal Husband again, but not this version of it.
This recording is a performance featuring Rosalind Ayres, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Gutrecht, Martin Jarvis, Robert Machray, Miriam Margolyes, Alfred Molina, Jim Norton and Yeardley Smith.