Henry V, which dates from 1599, is the last in Shakespeare's series of plays based on English history. It is also, of course, among the Bard's best-known and most-performed works. It's given rich new life here by a full-cast presentation that combines classic literature with classical music.
Public Domain (P)2000 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
A wonderful rendition. I've listened to it twice. Harry's concern for the welfare of his troops is so exactly what an army needs from its commander that it makes me sad for any nation whose troops are less valued and supported than King Harry's Englishmen. His wooing of Catherine is so charmingly done that it made me laugh. I LOVE this play!
Well executed, except that there is something strange about the audio - there are sequences where there is a lot of ambient noise (resonance, or gunfire) which suddenly vanishes for a moment when the speaker stops talking. This is particularly marked during the 'little touch of Harry in the night' sequence. Instead of the murmuring of soldiers around campfires in the quiet before the storm, this version for some reason seems to have gunfire going more or less continuously through the night, which starts and stops as the actors start and stop speaking. At first I thought there was something wrong with my earphones, and it might be there's something idiosyncratic about my setup.
This is a very well-produced and well-acted production. Sam West's performance is splendid; he's extremely clear in his diction and suitably ambiguous in his characterization of Hal, sliding smoothly between Machiavel and war hero.
I have only red a few Shakespeares. I definately would recommend reading or going to the actual presentation. Audio listening didn't work for me. Although it could have been me, I wasn't able to keep up with the characters.
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A good cast- the West family out in force (as usual for audio Shakespeare) Timothy West as Narrator and Samuel West as Henry V- which he does very nicely- the scene at Portsmouth; the discovery of the conspiracy, I thought he did very well indeed.
That apart I thought it all rather a lack-lustre production- flat and uninteresting- too much medieval chanting- particually as a substitute for battle noises- which seems to me idiotic as surely the whole joy of audio is that you can produce massive effects with really no budget at all.
The comedy elements also fell down rather- one got the impression that the actors didn't understand the words or get the jokes.- but very poiniant death of Falstaff.
Criticisms aside, this is the only Henry V available, and it is unabridged and, frankly, it's not the greatest play Shakespeare ever wrote and I'm not sure that anyone could make the play a real audio success
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