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M. W. Roberts

ratings
26
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
24

  • The Merchant of Venice

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Antony Sher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, agrees to lend Antonio, a Venetian merchant, three thousand ducats so that his friend Bassanio can afford to court his love, Portia. However, Shylock has one condition: Should the loan go unpaid, he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio's own flesh. Meanwhile in Belmont, according to the terms of her father's will, Portia's many suitors must choose correctly from three caskets. Bassanio arrives at Portia's estate and they declare their love for one another before he picks the correct casket.

    Tad Davis says: "Great production, difficult play"
    "Bravo!"
    Overall

    Fantastic, subtle sound effects, well cast, superbly acted, and, unlike the BBC version, it does not omit any lines - thus, we have a terrific audible rendition of Shakespeare's play.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Arcadia

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Tom Stoppard
    • Narrated By Kate Burton, Mark Capri, Jennifer Dundas, and others
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia merges science with human concerns and ideals, examining the universe’s influence in our everyday lives and ultimate fates through relationship between past and present, order and disorder and the certainty of knowledge. Set in an English country house in the year 1809-1812 and 1989, the play examines the lives of two modern scholars and the house's current residents with the lives of those who lived there 180 years earlier.

    M. W. Roberts says: "Great production"
    "Great production"
    Overall

    This audible performance of Arcadia is very well acted and produced. My chief criteria for these audible plays are: (1) How closely does the performance stick to the script - i.e. have they omitted a significant portion of the dialog? (2) Sound quality: does it sound like they recorded a live stage performance with a microphone sitting on a corner of the stage, or was it recorded specifically for a listening audience? And do they use sound effects well?

    On both accounts this is a high-quality production. It is also a charming, funny and intelligent play.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Othello (Dramatized)

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ewan McGregor, Kelly Reilly
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Shakespeare's Othello is one of his finest and most famous tragedies. This highly acclaimed performance, which ran between November 2007 and February 2008 at the Donmar Warehouse in London, features Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Moor Othello, Ewan McGregor as the scheming Iago, and Kelly Reilly as the gentle Desdemona. This recording features music written specifically for the stage production which enjoyed huge success - each performance was a sell-out.

    M. W. Roberts says: "Goats and Monkeys!"
    "Goats and Monkeys!"
    Overall

    According to an article I read on the live performance of this play in London, some critics gave Ejiofor positive reviews while McGregor and Reilly did not fare as well. Whip me such foolish critics! Others there are who recognize McGregor's rendition of Honest Iago as nearly flawless; who can see that he pulls off the relentlessly ruminative diabolical genius with precision. And such a one do I profess myself. I've listened to many audible dramatizations of Shakespeare, and this one is probably the best.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • BBC Radio Shakespeare: Henry IV, Part One (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Julian Glover, Jamie Glover, Full Cast
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    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.

    Kian says: "Enjoyed it. But slightly abridged"
    "Heavily abridged..."
    Overall

    Invariably, and inexcusably, BBC shortens Shakespeare, and they apply an ax rather than a scalpel. This is a particularly egregious example. As one would expect, the introducer emphasizes the genius that Falstaff represents as a comic creation, and he tells us: "It is said, that Elizabethan audiences used to stop cracking their nuts when Falstaff came on stage, so as not to miss a syllable. They had the right idea." To give you just an example: In Act I, scene two, 55 lines of a total of 215 are omitted, 30 of which are Falstaff's.

    This is not slightly abridging; it is butchery.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • BBC Radio Shakespeare: King Lear (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Colin Redgrave, Geraldine James, Full Cast
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    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.

    M. W. Roberts says: "A Double Tragedy"
    "A Double Tragedy"
    Overall

    Like the other BBC Radio Shakespeare plays I've purchased (7 or so), the sound quality, production, acting and music are brilliant. In particular, William Houston's performance of Edmund is fantastic. However, as always, BBC omits very large portions of the dialog - some of the best lines - and this is so unacceptable and maddening. Let's consider what kind of person listens to audio dramatizations of Shakespeare: would any of us accept anything less than a strict adherence to Shakespeare's script?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Hamlet

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser, full cast
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    Hamlet, which dates from 1600-1601, is the first in Shakespeare's great series of four tragedies. In writing this extraordinary play, Shakespeare effectively re-invented tragedy after an interval of roughly 2,000 years - you would have to go back to the Greek dramatists of fifth century Athens to find anything of comparable depth and maturity. This production features the voice of Anton Lesser as Hamlet along with a full cast.

    Kirby says: "Excellent Copy"
    "The best of the audible Hamlets"
    Overall

    My chief criterion in evaluating a dramatized performance of Shakespeare is that none of the lines are left out, save a few words here and there. Secondly, I also appreciate accurate sound effects, and a subtle "soundtrack," and a good overall recording quality. By all of these measurements this Naxos production of Hamlet scores well. The main problem is that, in a couple of scenes, Hamlet himself starts speaking way too fast for one to take in the lines. One might argue that this play is soooo long that, since this company has - quite justifiably - decided to remain loyal to Shakespeare's script, it only makes sense that they would have to hurry it up a bit. A few reviewers have failed to take the validity of this argument into account. The BBC Shakespeare productions are invariably bad about leaving out large chunks of important dialog. Any geek like you or me who listens to audible dramatizations of Shakespeare will insist on every verse being spoken.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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