©2001 Timothy West; (P)2002 Chivers Audio Books
"A good actor has many talents. His training includes dancing, singing, mime, and swordsmanship. Timothy West adds to these gifts the ability to capture a story on a page and to express that same story to an audience." (AudioFile)
It is pretty rare to listen twice to anything, but were Timothy West to read the phone book, I would pay to download it. I have listened to all his readings of Trollope novels, but there is one catch, which is I cannot now contemplate listening to Trollope by any other reader. As he is now in his mid-seventies, perhaps his recording days are over. Now here is his autobiography, that proves he is also an eloquent and entertaining writer as well. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
I like to weed and read at the same time.
I should have known better. Mr. West is younger than I but writes, reads and uses humor as I remember it in the 1950's- pretentious and pompous and unimaginative. He is maddeningly discrete about fellow thespians ( nudge nudge wink wink). I didn't get any sense of enthusiasm for what he has achieved and had a definite sense that he feels under appreciated.On the one hand he accepts the title 'second tier' actor but on the other he bemoans the lack of television roles. On the whole I think he was a reluctant author and probably wrote for the royalties. I think Prunella Scale's version would have been much more interesting.
Among the best autobiographies of a contemporary
His accounts of performing overseas in remote locations as well as his travels with his terrific and talented wife, Prunella Scales.
His discussions of his Father and Mother, wives and children.
Timothy West's face and voice are familiar to fans of Masterpiece Theatre, BBC, and other great British producers. His life in theatre is interesting and amusing and I found his description of the management of theatres and theatre companies very illuminating. I have set upon a search for other books he has read because his style is so lovely and of course, I'm already hooked on Prunella Scales' narration.
I listen to audio books when I'm walking my dogs and, I have to say, it's rare for me to be more keen to go out for a walk than they are, but that was the case with this book!
'A moment towards the end of the play' was a joy to listen to - Timothy West's voice is as great to listen to as his acting is to watch. Amusing, informative and, at times, sad, this was a real insight into the life of a fabulous actor and his world of the stage. I wanted it to go on and on ...
"a book for theatre lovers"
I bought this book because it was reasonably well reviewed in the papers, and I am a fan, as it were, of Timothy West particularly regarding his many outstanding audiobook narrations.
I did enjoy the book. Superbly narrated as you would expect, it was interesting to me particularly for his early life and the overall insight it gives into the theatre world. But to be honest, I think that unless you are a true lover of theatre, you could get the guts from an abridged version if there is one available. Much of the middle and latter half of the book comprises a bit of a recitation of his year by year theatre appearances - one could almost imagine him writing away with a lot of old programmes to act as his prompts - I hasten to add that it's not dull, just a bit one paced. More - and more colourful - anecdotes would have helped, but he is much to polite and courteous, and too much a proper English gentleman, to indulge his readers in this way! That said, his story of Peter O'Toole in "Macbeth" is pretty amusing and well told. And Timothy West himself comes across as a very likeable character, although a bit of a "luvvie" under the skin.
Good stuff though overall - particularly if you are a lover of theatre.
"A bit of a let down"
I truly loved an earlier audiobook by the same author (Tales of a Travelling Actor - why is it not available on audible by the way?!?). It was full of self deprecating humour, deep insights into the world of theatre, the world of art funding and so on. And T West read it himself too (his voice is brilliant). Alas, his autobiography takes itself a tad too seriously, and he is dropping, for my taste, too many names.
"A Luvvies Life."
A throughly enjoyable account of an actors life, made all the more enjoyable by having seen some of the productions to which Timothy refers through a love of and long interest in the theatre.There are some wonderful anecdotes.
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