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Gwynne

Alexandria, VA, United States

107
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 41 reviews
  • 1363 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 102 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
14

  • How to Cope with Mitchell and Webb

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 2 mins)
    • By David Mitchell, Robert Webb
    • Narrated By David Mitchell, Robert Webb
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    David Mitchell and Robert Webb tackle various subject matters in a How to Cope with... guide, talking you through every day scenarios and situations. The subject matters discussed are How to Cope with... Being Normal; Pubs; Being Dumped, Parts 1 and 2; Coffee; Malmaison Hotels; Nudists; The Smoking Ban; Actors; Servants; and Getting Older.

    Gwynne says: "Dazzlingly Funny!"
    "Dazzlingly Funny!"
    Overall

    Another first-rate outting for comedy team Mitchell and Webb! I have yet to be disappointed by the material from this duo. David Mitchell's diatribe on Malmaison hotels had me laughing out loud on the subway. Be sure to try this one, as well as anything else--audio or video--from M&W. You will have an hour's worth of laughs from "How to Cope..." Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • When We are Married (Classic Radio Theatre)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 27 mins)
    • By J. B. Priestley
    • Narrated By Alan Bennett
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A sparkling BBC Radio 4 adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s comic play, starring Alan Bennett, Brenda Blethyn, Gwen Taylor, Alun Armstrong, Michael Jayston and Nicola Pagett. Three eminently respectable Yorkshire couples are in the midst of their joint silver wedding celebrations when they receive a rude shock - they are not legally married.

    Gwynne says: "Funny and warm--a period gem!"
    "Funny and warm--a period gem!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lovely small play by Priestley, who is well known for his plays puncturing the pretensions of the British upper classes and those aspiring to such status, such as The Inspector Calls. This is a comedy with the same general theme, but it has affection rather than hatred for its subjects. A tale of upper middle class couples from the North of England who suddenly find out they were never married as they thought, 25 years earlier. The play is gentle but funny, and gives a stellar cast of actors a chance to show off the beauty of ensemble acting. The standout is Alan Bennett as "erbert," but Belinda Blethyn and Nicola Paget are also notable. Enjoy!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Kiss Before Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ira Levin
    • Narrated By Mauro Hantman
    Overall
    (379)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (340)

    Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

    karen says: "Nothing like a classic....."
    "Fantastic Mystery/Thriller!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ira Levin is best known for his horror and thriller tales from the 1960s and '70s, including Rosemary's Baby and the Stepford Wives--both undoubted classics. This book from the 1950s should be far better known that it is, because it is the equal of his later work, but in the more standard genre of mystery. Levin is a magnificent plotter, and I guarantee you will not have foreseen some of the twists he provides here. But beyond that, he manages to make you care about all the characters, good and bad. I cannot provide much detail without giving away some of the surprises, but believe me that for a novel in the mystery/thriller vein, you could not do better than A Kiss Before Dying. In addition, this narrator, who is new to me, does a wonderful job of providing distinctive but not distracting voicing for each character. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Katherine: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Anya Seton
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (353)
    Performance
    (286)
    Story
    (286)

    Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the classic romance Katherine features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets - Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II - who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king's son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine.

    Patricia says: "Wonderful the 2nd time around, forty years later!"
    "If you like Philippa Gregory's novels, try this!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Katherine," the story of Katherine Swynford, the mistress and eventual wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, is a glorious example of historical fiction. Intrinsically romantic, but firmly based on known history, "Katherine" throws light on a great love story that took place during the fascinating period in English history spanning the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. Ms. Seton is a wonderful writer and provides enough detail to allow you to feel a part of the Middle Ages, including the warmth of the nobles' ermine and glitter of the knights' gold-inlaid armor, as well as the reek of the pigyard just outside the castle keep. Moreover, she does not force her protagonists to voice overtly modern sentiments, which is such a common fault in historical novels written today. I'm willing to bet that some of our greatest new authors, like Philippa Gregory, have a treasured copy of "Katherine" in their bookshelves.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah Millican's Support Group: The Complete Series, Volume 2

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Sarah Millican
    • Narrated By Sarah Millican
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Award-winning comedian Sarah Millican is back for a second series playing Sarah, a modern-day agony aunt dishing out real advice for real people. Solving the nation's problems with her Support Group, she wants you to live life to the utmost and she's got tons of ideas of how to help. Together with her team of experts on the heart - local cabbie Terry and self-qualified counsellor Marion - Sarah tackles people's dilemmas head on and has a solution for everything.

    Gwynne says: "Brilliant Britcom!"
    "Brilliant Britcom!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of the best Britcom audios I've heard in recent years. The "advice panel" radio show format allows three different comics, with very different styles, dialects, and accents to portray "counsellors" and react to the problems of the show guests. Not as raunchy as many British radio programs tend to be, Sarah Millican's Support Group is both funny and fun to listen to. I highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Anne Sebba
    • Narrated By Samantha Bond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (100)

    Here is the first full-scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the 20th century, a character who figured prominently in the blockbuster film The King’s Speech. This is the story of the American divorcée notorious for allegedly seducing a British king off his throne.

    Gwynne says: "A fascinating read..."
    "A fascinating read..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story that I thought I knew... conniving American social-climber fools noble-minded British king into leaving his throne. I'm now not sure that's a fair assessment. Neither King Edward VIII or Wallis Simpson were going to win a "most-likable" contest, but the book makes a reasonable case that Wallis actually got in over her head, not expecting the king would go so far to keep her. Wallis appears to have been an intelligent and interesting woman, troubled by her own insecurities, who found herself the focus of an obsessive love. The period detail is wonderful and the insights into the various personalities involved in this "greatest love story of the 20th Century" are enlightening. This, plus an excellent job of narration by Samatha Bond makes for a book well worth any listener's time.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • In the Name of Security: Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Peter Goodchild
    • Narrated By David Hyde Pierce, Amy Pietz, John de Lancie, and others
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In the Name of Security re-opens three famous spy cases that rocked America between 1948 and 1954: Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer. Each hour-long program combines dramatic re-enactments based on original trial transcripts, archival material, new evidence, the latest assessments of American historians and scientists, and the commentaries of relatives and friends of the accused.

    Gwynne says: "Wonderful history lesson, told with verve"
    "Wonderful history lesson, told with verve"
    Overall

    As a person who grew up well after the events discussed in these three playlets, I found the information in them fascinating and new to me. The acting was excellent, as well. I was a bit puzzled by the "intent" of the author. In terms of tone, it sounded as though the listener is meant to feel sympathy for the persons involved--Hiss, the Rosenbergs, and Oppenheimer--but the facts presented do not lead in that direction. In the case of Hiss and the Rosenbergs, the narrator makes it clear that in recent years the Venona decodings have proven that they were certainly guilty of espionage, Hiss in time of war. That seems to constitute treason, which is worthy of severe penalty--including the death penalty. The Rosenbergs' crime seems even greater--what could be worse than giving atomic secrets to an enemy nation? The actors' declartions suggest that the civil rights of Hiss, the Rosenbergs, and Oppenheimer were violated, but other than citing that the "current of the time" during the "Red Scare" convicted them, rather than the evidence, I did not hear what seemed to me clear instances of violations. To my unfamiliar ears, the contemporary evidence (not Venona) sounded pretty damning, whatever the climate of the times. Oppenheimer was the only one who may have been treated roughly given his "crime," but then his punishment was simply to be removed from a job. How could a reasonable government have left in charge of such a vital defense/security program as atomic weapons a man who not only had had Communist sympathies but, much more importantly, had failed to disclose a security breach known to him personally for at least 6 months? What could the authorities have done--I mean, doesn't that constitute at least reason to doubt Oppenheimer's trustworthiness?

    At any rate, as I said, I was previously unfamiliar with these cases, and I am certainly disposed now to find out a great deal more about all of them. I highly recommend the drama to anyone interested in postwar history

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Constant Wife

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 59 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Kate Burton, Rosalind Ayres, Mark Capri, and others
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    There’s something Constance Middleton’s friends are dying to tell her: her husband is having an affair – with her best friend! Despite their hints, Constance remains ever cool, and seemingly oblivious. Or is she? In this biting comedy of manners, marriages and mistresses, Constance – a not-so-desperate housewife - has some ideas of her own about extra-marital activity that surprise everyone in the end!

    Gwynne says: "Fun and frothy, but with a bit of a bite!"
    "Fun and frothy, but with a bit of a bite!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An interesting entry from the LA TheatreWorks collection. Before buying this download, I had heard of this Somerset Maugham play, but I had never seen/heard it performed. It sounds much like a Noel Coward play, in style and wit, although it is less humorous and has a relatively serious undertone re man/woman relationships. The cast is uniformly excellent--bringing out the charm and the underlying social significance of the play--but both Kate Burton and Rosalind Ayres merit special mention. All the actresses come off better than the actors, but this is the nature of the play, which views men essentially as damn fools and women as either wise or scheming cats--but cats nonetheless. (Again, very much a Noel Coward stance!) Altogether, it is good fun, and you will certainly not regret selecting this play for your collection. I give it four out of five stars, and I will be listening to it again and again for the excellently deft touch of the actors.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Trials of Oscar Wilde

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Gyles Brandreth
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    On 18th February 1895, the Marquess of Queensberry left a visiting card at the Albemarle Club on which he had written: "To Oscar Wilde posing as a sodomite." The accusation led to a series of three trials and the imprisonment of Wilde. This compelling dramatic recreation has been carefully compiled from the original trial transcripts.

    Gwynne says: "Wow! What a performance!"
    "Wow! What a performance!"
    Overall

    Martin Jarvis performs a true tour de force in this work, taking the part of every character in the play (often alternating characters line to line) and making each one a truely unique theatrical creation. If you want to hear great audio acting--this is the one for you! The play is also fascinating, having been taken directly from the records of the famous trials. Witty, engrossing, and deepy tragic, this is a superb audio performance that should please any listener. I can't recommend it too highly!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Actor Retires

    • ORIGINAL (56 mins)
    • By Bruce Norris
    • Narrated By D. W. Moffett, Bruce Norris, Lucy Childs, and others
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (0)

    This is a hilarious comedy in which an actor decides to end his career, throw out his résumés and become a furniture maker. Featuring a full-cast performance with D. W. Moffett, Bruce Norris, Lucy Childs, Christopher Donahue, Kevin Hurley, Amy Morton, Susan Nussbaum, and William Peterson.

    Gwynne says: "Breezy fun for theater-lovers."
    "Breezy fun for theater-lovers."
    Overall

    An Actor Retires is great fun for anyone who knows people in the theater. The angst an actor puts himself through is shown in several hilarious vignettes. All the acting in this work is first-rate, and the leading man is superbly funny. My only quibble is that this is really an one-act play, so it goes by very quickly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Marx in Soho: A Play on History

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 24 mins)
    • By Howard Zinn
    • Narrated By Brian Jones
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    “Don’t you wonder: why is it necessary to declare me dead again and again?” This is the question posed by Karl Marx in Howard Zinn’s witty and insightful “play on history.” The premise of this one-man performance is that history’s most famous, and oft-misrepresented, radical is resurrected after agitating with the authorities of the afterlife to clear his name. Through a bureaucratic error, however, Marx lands in modern-day Soho, New York, rather than his old stomping grounds in London, to make his case.

    Danilo says: "Wonderful Play"
    "Dull and disappointing"
    Overall

    Marx in Soho is a one-man show framed as an apologist talk by Karl Marx, who could not possibly have been so vain, tedious, selfish, loutish, and oblivious as this script makes him. If he were, then one can only say pity poor Mrs. Marx! Given communism’s astonishing evolution since Marx’s death, the idea of the play is a promising one, but in execution it is a theatrical dud--about as dramatic as reading a term paper. There is no action, no character transformation, no wit, and, most disappointing, no organized attempt to defend Marxist theory. If a play’s whole point is to show that Marxism’s failure in Russia was due solely to its being hijacked by a mad thug (Stalin), then the drama is to prove that case. Here, the play fails. In fact, it never even tries. Cuba and China are not mentioned, either to support or rebut the claim. None of the other Soviet leaders are discussed nor are any other Marxist figures or systems of the 20th Century. All the play does is decry capitalism and give examples of the plight of the poor—not exactly demonstrating Marx’s acknowledged powers of reasoning! Lacking conflict, confrontation, or change, the play is dull, dull, dull. Even the live audience musters only the slightest reaction, although I’m sure they were trying to be supportive. Using historical figures to argue a political/social issue can be a brilliant theatrical technique, if done skillfully (see Inherit the Wind or, more recently, Frost/Nixon). But when plays in this vein are done clumsily, they can be very bad indeed. Marx in Soho is such a pretentious clunker. Consider yourself warned.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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