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John

Crystal Lake, IL, USA | Member Since 2007

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 422 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
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  • The Tempest

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Sir Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Full Cast
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    The Tempest was the last of Shakespeare's comedies, completed just before he retired to his native Stratford-upon-Avon; perhaps this delightful comedy was intended to signal the playwright's farewell to his beloved theater. The Tempest reflects Shakespeare's mature genius, with its story of innocence tempered by intrigue, hilarity bounded by melancholy. Audiences the world over still thrill to see The Tempest's dark comedy and magical fantasy.

    Richard says: "Excellent performance."
    "Delightful Tempest!"
    Overall

    A thoroughly delightful version of Shakespeare's play, highly recommended. Hugh Griffith almost steals the show as Caliban. At a brisk two hours, this recording of the magical play flies past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • King Lear

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Paul Scofield, Rachel Roberts, Cyryl Cusak, and others
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    I am a man more sinned against than sinning.

    Stanley Hauer says: "A true classic"
    "Powerhouse Lear."
    Overall

    KING LEAR, Shakespeare's great tragedy, is beautifully rendered here. Paul Scofield is majestic as the mad, doomed and very human king. It is a heartbreaking performance in a play almost too painful to endure. It is a staggering dramatic work.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Our Mutual Friend

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Charles Dickens' classic novel of mystery, read by Alex Jennings. A body is found in the River Thames and is identified as John Harmon. He was due to inherit a great fortune on the condition that he marry a young woman called Bella Wilfer. And so the story begins and unravels and we are introduced to the mysterious John Rokesmith, Our Mutual Friend.

    John says: "Superb Dickens!"
    "Superb Dickens!"
    Overall

    This recording is absolutely delightful. Alex Jennings, a terrific English actor, portrays seemingly hundreds of characters with complete confidence and rich humor. He clearly relishes the joyous magic of Dickens' prose. Although not one of Dickens' most well-known novels, OUR MUTUAL FRIEND offers plenty of his special plot-twists, delicious characters and mordant social observations. His portrait of the eerie, nocturnal Thames and its denizens is particuarly memorable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Moby Dick

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By William Hootkins
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Over a century and a half after its publication, Moby Dick still stands as an indisputable literary classic. It is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself.

    Kathryn says: "Not bad at all!"
    "Go a'whaling."
    Overall

    MOBY DICK, for my money the crown jewel of American literature, is an enormous book and presents enormous challenges to adapt and abridge. This audio version is told with spirit and vigor, illuminating the surprisingly light moments of Melville's novel with particular humor. The characterizations are distinct and highly memorable. Quite rightly, this is an Ahab to terrify! I am deeply sorry, however, they decided to cut "The Whiteness of the Whale" chapter -- which has to be one of the absolute pinnacles of Melville's prose. Alas. But for that omission, this would have been almost a perfect listening experience. Give it a try.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • BBC Radio Shakespeare: Coriolanus (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Samuel West, Susannah York, Full Cast
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard.

    John says: "Tricky play, wonderful Volumnia."
    "Tricky play, wonderful Volumnia."
    Overall

    CORIOLANUS is a notoriously difficult play, never much beloved by American audiences. The thorny protagonist can seem cold and off-putting; the political arguments dense and formal. Still, though, this is one of Shakespeare's most exciting and provocative plays. Give it a chance. Unfortunately this recording suffers from a lead performance that never really takes off emotionally. Thankfully, the Volumnia of Susannah York is a formidable titan. This is a very clear and concise version of the play -- even if it lacks the granduer and emotion of the great Richard Burton recording which is, alas, currently only available on cassette.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe
    • Narrated By Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone brilliantly interpret twenty of Edgar Allan Poe's most chilling stories and poems - an unforgettably intense listening experience!

    tom says: "Excellent performance, poor formatting."
    "Superior Poe!"
    Overall

    There are many recordings of Poe's work -- ranging from the bland to the wildly overheated. This is the best, without paralell. Basil Rathbone and Vincent Price bring authority, wit and sensitivity to the tales and poems. These performers are not afraid to relish the juicy melodrama and they have the vocal equipment and training to make the language soar. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Oh, and by the way, the tales themselves are still scary, disturbing and haunting after all these years.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Julius Caesar

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Full Cast
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In Julius Caesar, there are no heroes, only heroic words spoken by men of ambition, arrogance, and jealousy. Yet Julius Caesar is also one of Shakespeare's most popular and polished works, a seamless blend of highly-stylized oratory and penetrating soliloquies that lays bare the innermost workings of the human mind.

    John says: "Sterling cast"
    "Sterling cast"
    Overall

    A wonderful production of Shakespeare's profoundly moving and profoundly political play. Anthony Quayle provides a solid philosophical anchor as Brutus and Ralph Richardson is appropriately august as Caesar. If you recall this play tepidly from High School, listen to it again. It is thrilling drama, moves like lightning, and Marc Antony's funeral oration -- cleverly performed here -- is every bit as great as its reputation would insist. The political in-fighting and propaganda of the play are very familiar and sophisticated and -- going in to an election year -- should be required listening or reading.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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