Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
can you fit "Mansfield Park" into 2 hours and 18 minutes? This lovely dramatized production answers the question thusly:
1) Get some wonderful A-list British actors;
2) Find a writer or writers who can severely cut Miss Austen to the bone without sacrificing all the dialogue, the essence of the characters, or the dated charm of Jane Austen and Fanny Price;
3) Don't worry if you seriously tick off the purist Janeites out there!
That's what the BBC has done, and here it is done supremely well. Cumberbatch, Tennant, and Jones are three of today's most popular artists - it's a wonder how they were assembled for such a project - and the rest of the cast equals their talent and energy.
I'm not usually a fan of abridged classics, but this is valuable whether or not you are familiar with Jane Austen's perhaps least-favorite novel. Reading "Mansfield Park" can be something of a chore - this listen is a breeze!
(The BBC dramatization may well encourage some to seek out the full version. I'd recommend going with Juliet Stevenson's narration of the unabridged "Mansfield Park" - it's available at Audible.)
It's been years since I read (and absolutely loved) "Neverwhere." This is a terrific way to re-discover a fantasy classic.
Others have mentioned the perfect performances here. They are wonderful, and the work has been lovingly and beautifully adapted for radio (and Audible).
If you read the book, dive into this version of "Neverwhere". If you haven't yet experienced Gaiman's crazy world, take a moment to get used to the accents and the background noises, and enter. Like radio, it's presented in episodes - but be prepared to stay up late listening to all of them in one sitting! It's that good!
"Cold Comfort Farm" is very dated and very British. It's a send-up of a kind of rural novel popular at the turn of the 20th Century -- dour, secretive characters living foreboding lives on isolated, atmospheric farms on the fens or the moors of England.
Aunt Ada Doom and the Starkadders trudge through existence on Cold Comfort Farm ("There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort!") There are also the brooding, sex-starved sons Seth and Rueben, the grumbling, illiterate servants, and the cows (Aimless, Feckless, Graceless and Pointless). Into this seething mass of eccentricity drops Miss Flora Poste, a bright young thing from London whose parents have just died, leaving her with little money and the need to seek out a place to live among relatives. The Starkadders are it, and Flora is determined to set their lives straight in short order!
It's giggle-and-laugh out loud funny! As though, in America, Dorothy Parker suddenly found herself in the wilds of Appalachia. Stella Gibbons wrote the book in 1932, and this is a radio dramatization. The actors are wonderful, but beware some of the country accents (intentionally nearly incomprehensible at times). In the background, you can hear the lowing and cackling of the beasts, the ever-present thunder storms, and the sucking of the mud in the pasture.
This is 3 1/2 hours of great fun! Not for everyone, but lovers of all things British, Masterpiece Theater, and something really different are in for a treat.