Followers of the popular vampire literary and film interpretations of recent years might be blasé about another performance of the exquisitely written novel that started it all. But listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling. The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel, which includes journal entries and letters. Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread. The famed vampire Count Dracula leaves a swath of exsanguinated bodies in his wake as he attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England in 1897, stalked by the brave Van Helsing.
Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2013
Audie Award, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
This production of Dracula is presented by what is possibly the best assemblage of narrating talent ever for one audiobook: Emmy Award nominees Alan Cumming and Tim Curry plus an all-star cast of Audie award-winners Simon Vance (The Millenium Trilogy), Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Susan Duerden (The Tiger’s Wife), John Lee (Supergods) and customer favorites Graeme Malcolm (Skippy Dies), Steven Crossley (The Oxford Time Travel series), Simon Prebble (The Baroque Cycle), James Adams (Letters to a Young Contrarian), Nicola Barber (The Rose Garden), Victor Villar-Hauser (Fun Inc.), and Marc Vietor (1Q84). These stellar narrators have been cast as follows:
Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward
Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker
Katy Kellgren as Mina Murray/Harker
Susan Duerden as Lucy Westenra
Tim Curry as Van Helsing
Graeme Malcolm as Dailygraph correspondent
Steven Crossley as Zookeeper’s account and reporter
Simon Prebble as Varna
James Adams as Patrick Hennessey
Nicola Barber as Sister Agatha
Victor Villar-Hauser as Arthur Holmwood
Marc Vietor as Quincey Morris
John Lee as Introductory paragraph, various letters
Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"Listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling…The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel…Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread." (AudioFile)
Dracula is of course a classic. each and every voice actor performs excellently. I was however disappointed to realize that, even though there is a full cast, the actors do not speak to one another. The characters speak for their own journals and they do their best to imitate accents of the other characters. Though, I still enjoyed this recording.
While Cummings and Curry get top billing, and do quite well, the full cast is deserving of credit for a great production of one of the supreme novels in the genre.
This is the first time I have read Dracula and it will not be the last. Audible and all the performers did an amazing job in bringing this book to life. A must read for all horror fans and for literary fans as well. Highly recommend.
Reading anything and everything...
This performance is absolutely incredible! Alan Cumming is fantastic as well as Simon Vance and of course Tim Curry. I was excited to find it and will listen to it again every year near Halloween as a tradition. You may find it a little wordy and the writing sometimes tedious further into the story but for the time it was written it really is a wonderful book. Stick with it and you won't be disappointed. 0h for more productions like this!
This is a novel, in my opinion, that is best served in abridgement. Stoker's ability to provide information in a redundant fashion while never doing more that superficially developing most of his characters is taxing to me. I'd rather just get to the main crux of the story, which I do find fascinating (there is a reason it has inspired to many interpretations and reimaginings). Also, I am not a fan of novels that tell their story through the juxtaposition of letters between characters and personal diary entries. It is a highly limiting technique that leaves characters feeling wooden and stale. If this were a mystery, you might find more enjoyment from trying to piece random clues together, but it is not a mystery and the plot's development is slow and tedious.
I have listened to other versions of "Dracula" as audios, along with a couple of his short stories, but I rarely seek them out and I doubt I will ever do so.
The only thing that got me through this long book was the various narrators. The changing of voices was pleasant enough to break up what is, to me, a tediously paced story. In particular, Simon Vance as Harker and Alan Cumming as Seward are particularly good (even though Vance's voice for Dracula is nearly indistinguishable from his voice for Van Helsing). Katy Kellgren was very good as Mina, as well. Unfortunately, Tim Curry is wasted in the role of Van Helsing, whose voice in the novel is rarely his own. Rather, most of his dialogue is read by other narrators. This leaves Curry with about 10 minutes of reading time out of the total 15+ hours. I cannot recommend anyone listen to this audio based on Curry's inclusion in the cast. That was very disappointing.
It does not need a follow-up book. The cast do an adequate job reading their parts but I cannot say I was left clamoring for more. Rather, its end was a relief to me.
Overall, while the narrations are of good quality, you really need to be a fan of this novel to get any significant joy from listening to it. I got it for 99 cents after buying the e-book from Amazon and I feel like I paid quite enough. Even the presence of Cumming, whom I usually enjoy as a narrator, was not enough to enthrall me.
Bram Stoker's original concept of presenting a story through journals and newspaper clippings is fascinating. Unfortunately, the way he writes dialog not only reflects late 19th century views of the sexes (he wrote it in the 1890s, so you can't expect anything else) but his characters come across almost as caricatures. Thankfully, the full cast narration has a very strong Mina who can make the weak journal entries from her point of view come across better than they are written.
You can not go wrong with a classic story. It draws you in and keeps you longing for more until you complete the story. The reading was very good. My only complaint is that each dairy entry had a different voice for the characters. At times, I was confused as to who was talking. Overall.... Excellent!
"Kallgren lowers the rating"
They need to stop using her for English women. It's uncomfortable to listen to and such a shame as I love this book and the rest of the cast do so well. I toyed with giving up, as I have done with previous books she's narrated, but Cumming and Curry are just so good. Really is a shame about Kallgren, I'm sure she's a great narrator when tackling accents closer to her own. But these are just so painfully forced.
Oh God Yes!
It is beautifully true to the original. Their was a sense of the times delivered in the performances. The atmosphere was also deliciously conveyed in the audio background.
The nature of the book is too have many perspectives and each of the narrators/actors was wonderful in their delivery. It is also very refreshing and dynamic to have the different voices journey you through the story.
This is a classic that will be revisited several times in my life.
"Frankenstein Assemblage From Anaemic All-Star Cast"
Very disappointed with this version of Dracula; I was looking to spend a credit wisely, but was regretting it within 30 mins. What could possibly go wrong? A stellar cast, the promised restitution of the horror and power missing in so many other productions, and all the 'campiness' and creepy music erased. For me, however, much of the narration seems decidedly lacklustre, rather careless even, lacking the much vaunted drive and tension in numerous sections: in short it seems to lack direction. To me, it seems not to have been directed at all but 'divvied up' and then reassembled. One of the female characters speaks throughout in the same simpering and numbing three-note cadence, while one character accent, from the North East of England sounds suspiciously as if modelled on Daphne out of 'Frasier'. Editing choices militate against any build in tension: pauses are chopped out, sentences butt up against each other as if there was a shortage of 'tape'. Wish I'd gone for one of the single narrator versions or the BBC dramatized version.
"Classic horror with multiple voices"
The basic story of Dracula is probably familiar to most, but it is the central concept that stays longest in the mind after reading/listening. To be fair the plot loses steam at various moments and the characters are fairly flat, but the vampire and Transylvania as a setting have had so much impact on Twentieth Century culture that this book needs to read by everyone at least once just to see where it all came from. And I can't think of a better way to do that than listening to this audio-book. The book is narrated by various voices, so likewise this audio-book is read by a different narrator for each character, such as Alan Cumming for Seward and Time Curry as Van Helsing. This works very well, the multiple voices really adding something extra to sustain interest - this really is one of the most enjoyable audio-books I have listened to: A massively influential book read very well - highly recommended.
"The Frasier cast read Dracula - Badly"
I love the story. It's the only good part of this production. All the Narrators are dreadful. It's as if they've only heard English accents on episodes of Frasier. I swear one of the narrators was Daphne Moon. Not one narrator seems to have put any effort into this production. A shame considering the cast.
The voices. Make them stop.
The accents. So v badly done. Also they appeared to be narrating as if they've never seen the text before.
Avoid this. By the description, I thought it was an all-star cast play of the book. It's just a variety of readers going through the text as ineffectively as possible while thinking about their pay checks.
"Good, but some miscast voices and dull chapters"
The first half, full of the bizarre horrors of Dracula's castle and the slow build towards his journey to England, is great. Even after all these years, it's some really creepy and atmospheric text, which the cast do a very good job of conveying. Unfortunately, I thought that the second half could really drag on at times, with far too much time being spent on long, dull monologues about how lovely Mina is and how everyone loves her for being so lovely. The last couple of chapters seemed to be more concerned with train schedules and further discussion of Mina's loveliness, rather than building up to a satisfying climax.
The cast all does a very good at voicing the various journals, diaries, telegrams, and newspapers that make up the book, however the voice actor for Jonathan Harker sounds far too old for the part. I got used to this and accepted it because he was a great narrator, yet it still felt like an odd bit of casting. Also, you see "Tim Curry as Van Helsing" and think about all the great speeches that Van Helsing has, right? Well, Tim Curry doesn't actually say any of them! I would guess that over half of Van Helsing's dialogue is written in Mina's diary, which means that Mina's actress is the one who has to speak them with a not-quite-the-same-accent-Tim-Curry-is-doing accent. I can't blame the casting for this and the actress is a good enough narrator that you just get used to it, but it's still very disappointing that Curry isn't really given anything interesting to work with.
The actress foorr. Luu-see. Has a strange-lee hypnotic waay. Of taalk-iing. I doe-n't knooww hooww. Best tooo. Des-cribe iit.
To be fair, I think she's just overdoing the "sweet and delicate" voice early in the story, because she does sound much more natural later on and actually gives a very touching performance by the end. The rest of the cast are far more consistent and I have to give credit to the actress for Mina, because her many chapters include a lot of different characters and she does a great job of managing all of them (except for what I think was meant to be a Yorkshire accent that she tries to do for a character early on, which was absolutely terrible). Also, Alan Cumming deserves top billing for Dr Steward, as his chapters tended to be the highlights.
Talk like Lucy in public places and then get asked to leave by very concerned staff.
An enthralling adaptation of what could have been a very complex book. the original is a classic but also betrays it's age and period.
"I love vampires"
great book, love this story. very well narrated. it was a pleasure to listen to.
"Well worth listening to"
Everyone has heard of Dracula. Everyone has seen at least one film, But how many people have bothered with the original book?
This a great retelling of the original with the cast delivering excellent performances. There are some genuinely creepy elements to the book which explains why it grabbed the imagination, However, I also found the character of Lucy irritating which does take away a bit from the story, However I would recommend that you try this if you want to find out what the fuss is about and why it is a classic
"Horror well done."
I love Bram Stokers "Dracula" of which I have many audiobook versions. Personally I find the multiple cast members bring a whole new world to the characters and story pace, rather than a lone narrator. Some of the accents and pronunciations are a little off, but I like the quirkiness and professionalism of this audiobook.
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