Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Just want to say that this is a rare, uncut version of the play. Audible's other "Earnest" titles are of the abbreviated text usually performed. It's a real pleasure to hear Wilde's very witty lines - and a whole scene - which are routinely cut from productions.
If you already know "The Importance of Being Earnest" or other of Wilde's very funny plays, you'll be aware that the plot is pure fluff and silliness. I mean that in the very best way: Monty Python and P.G Wodehouse (What Ho, Jeeves!) owe a debt to Oscar Wilde.
This is obviously an older recording, but the sound is quite good. The performers are wonderful, tho perhaps less well-known that those on other versions. I enjoyed this thoroughly!
First of all, let me say that "Twelfth Night" is wonderful Shakespeare. It's great for an introduction to the bard: the story is easy to follow, the language is beautiful, there's music and comedy, and the characters are very appealing.
The format here is the difference. There's an introduction, with background on the play as well as a brief biography of Shakespeare and his times. Then, the play begins. A narrator interrupts the action every few lines to re-phrase in "plain English" what's been said. This sort of interpretation is helpful to newcomers to the play, but it can also be quite distracting and, understandably, disrupts the flow of the production. For the best experience of the play itself, I think the way to proceed would be to listen first to a version without the commentary, then to this.
The commentary is quite good, I think. The explanations are presented clearly, and there is a distinction between information that is historical and that which is purely speculative (as much of Shakespeare's personal history must be).
This approach to "Twelfth Night" might be an excellent way to prepare for seeing a production of the play and is of interest to anyone wanting to experience it in considerable depth. Like others in the series, "Twelfth Night: Shakespeare Appreciated" is an obviously well-researched and well-executed effort. The experience might, however, require more commitment than the casual playgoer/reader wants.
This could be helpful for an introductory student of Shakespeare and "Hamlet". There is some dramatization (carefully and rightfully described as being "speculative", as are all details of Shakespeare's life and literary motives) of Shakespeare's possible thinking when he wrote "Hamlet". Then there's a complete version of the play, done very well, but with extensive commentary. Anyone interested in getting to know Shakespeare but unfamiliar with the language of the time could find all this interruption helpful.
My reservation is that it can also be somewhat confusing. I believe this might be better done (and perhaps has been done) in a video format. This is a noble effort, and I hope it might bring more people to an appreciation of "Hamlet".