Whenever I see or hear a version of The Forsyte Saga, I always feel sorry for Soames.
The much-maligned Soames Forsyte is the character that we are supposed to loathe, as most of the characters in the story do. But I can't. I much prefer him to his smug, watercolour painting cousin, Jolien. Or Jolien's useless windbag daughter, June. Or Irene, the unforgiving hypocrite who married him. Soames and his daughter Fleur have more spunk and personality than the rest of the Forsytes put together. And this story is redeemed by them.
The male voices in this production are wonderful. At times when people die, the dialogue is very moving and is beautifully performed. I actually cried. Twice.
As usual, a couple of the female voices let the show down. The oft referred to as beautiful character of Irene is voiced in a dull, low monotone in the mistaken belief that it makes her sound beautiful and ladylike. But she just sounds like a creepy bore devoid of personality or humour. The character of soames 2nd wife, being french, is also voiced wrongly. She sounds like an imbecilic five year old. Poor Soames, if only he could get a wife who could speak like a norman woman. But i'm particularly sensitive to these voice traits, so don't let it deter you from the production. On the whole, it is beautifully done, with love, care and affection by the actors and the producers.
All but the Inspector in this recording, are wonderful to listen to. The recording is at times, let down by the incessantly smug monotone voice of the actor playing the Inspector. The Inspector should be a mystery man who with his charm and magnetism, manages to coerce information out of the otherwise reticent family. Not a judgemental one-dimensional bore. That being said, the other characters are played beautifully and it is all in all, an enjoyable romp.