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King Richard III | [William Shakespeare]

King Richard III

Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.
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Publisher's Summary

Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.

Richard III is a self-motivating character who defies determinism (a life preordained by God) and sets his life on a course chosen by his own will and desire, as he puns in the opening soliloquy: "I am determined to be a villain. Determined by birth and God, and determined in the other sense, by his own will."

Download the accompanying reference guide.

© and (P)2001 NAXOS AudioBooks

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  •  
    Donald Crystal, MN, USA 06-18-04
    Donald Crystal, MN, USA 06-18-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another NAXOS masterpiece!"

    The NAXOS productions of Shakespeare's plays are ALL very well done. There is never a hint of overacting, and the lines are always read in a way that makes the language seem natural and the emotions genuine.

    This should not be regarded as a Branaugh play so much as a NAXOS play. He is not the only amazing actor in this cast. Geraldine McEwan steals many scenes as the rotten old deposed Queen Margaret. This is no small feat, considering the one-dimensionality of Margaret's character. John Shrapnel is also fantastic in the role of Lord Hastings, as is Nicholas Farrell in the role of Buckingham, and Barrie Jaimeson is always fun to listen to, no mater which role he's reading.

    I absolutely love this production of this play. I own this version as well as the Caedmon production, and the contrast is just remarkable. The NAXOS characters seem so alive and natural in contrast to the Caedmon cast, which seems quite artificial and grandiose. Shakespeare wrote plays about humans, and he intended these plays to be enjoyed by all people, not just the nobles and the snobs. NAXOS has certainly succeeded in that mission.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Dover, DE, USA 07-08-03
    Keith Dover, DE, USA 07-08-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Branagh does it again"

    Kenneth Branagh, one of the most well known contemporary Shakespearean actors, once again leads a wonderful cast in one of my personal favorite plays. The tormented, and tormenting, Richard is brought to life with great zeal by Branagh. The rest of the cast supports this unabridged production with excellent timing and diction. Although occasionally the voices are a little low for listening on airplanes or while driving over rough roads, the recording is excellent. Very professionaly done.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Twinsburg, OH, USA 07-21-07
    Robert Twinsburg, OH, USA 07-21-07
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    "Not the best Richard III"

    Trust me... this is not the Richard III you want. The one you want is the Caedmon version (also on Audible). It's older and the recording itself is not as good, but the performances are dead-on and amazing.

    Kenneth Branagh (a guy who is an amazing actor, don't get me wrong) delivers a flat-line Richard. Richard is no fun in this version. He takes no evil pleasure in his manipulations... it's almost like he's just going through the motions. Several of the scenes are just plain lifeless! Sure, the production value is good and the actors are quality, but you won't find magic here.

    In the Caedmon version, Robert Stephens plays Richard III, and from the first scene, he charms you into playing along with his "inductions dangerous." And the rest of the characters are so much more full than in the Branagh version. Clarence is truly sympathetic in the Caedmon version (here, he's just pathetic). Queen Margaret is truly engaging, where her thirst for revenge has almost turned her into one of Macbeth's weird sisters. I'm not sure who plays Queen Elizabeth, but when she delivers the line "My reasons are too deep and dead," it's harrowing.

    Kenny will serve you in other plays, but leave this one and look for Bobby. The Caedmon recording quality will annoy you on occassion, but I promise you, the acting will more than make up for it.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margot Lewisburg, PA, United States 10-13-11
    Margot Lewisburg, PA, United States 10-13-11 Member Since 2003
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    "Sound quality"

    This is a marvelous (and relevant) political thriller and the cast are first rate. BUT it sounds like it was recorded with a cell phone. This is particularly challenging in scenes where many characters are present - the sound quality obscures who's speaking.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 12-01-13
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 12-01-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Rather disappointing"

    I didn't finish this one. I was expecting some fireworks.from Branagh's Richard but his performance feels rushed, muted, and undefined, with little to hold the interest.

    The sound quality is poor and I think this may be a recording of a stage production, because parts of it are baffling - in particular, there is a loud tapping sound throughout the opening speech that makes no sense without visuals (is it maybe Richard's walking stick? no idea, but it's really irritating).

    Maybe it gets better later on, but I couldn't summon the energy to find out. A misfire.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Port Angeles, WA, United States 02-11-11
    Julie Port Angeles, WA, United States 02-11-11
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    "Awesome Performance"

    Kenneth Branagh and the entire cast are phenomenal. Highly recommend this one for any Shakespeare fan.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reuven Nisser Garfield, NJ United States 06-08-14
    Reuven Nisser Garfield, NJ United States 06-08-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Out Of This World"

    Out of all the plays I listened to, this was by far the best. This version is just perfect. It brings the play to life in an unbelieveable way. Some seens stuck in my head. The acters and actresses were great. I would just like to know who was who. Is there a way?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian WASHINGTON, DC, USA 03-13-14
    Brian WASHINGTON, DC, USA 03-13-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Who can top Brannaugh?"
    Where does King Richard III rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best dramatization I've listened too.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Brannaugh's Richar both approachable and mysterious.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Terrific that much of his cast from Much Ado through As You Like It joined in.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Of course!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Baton Rouge, LA, USA 07-28-08
    Steve Baton Rouge, LA, USA 07-28-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Like listening to the soundtrack of a movie"

    While this may be very well performed, I found it hard to follow as there is no indication of who is speaking at any given time. Some voices are eventually distinguishible. It would be very helpful to be well acquanted with the play prior to listening to the soundtrack.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Columbia, VA, USA 02-02-05
    Kathleen Columbia, VA, USA 02-02-05 Member Since 2002
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    "Richard III - Kenneth Branaugh"

    Excellant!! Great for students of Shakespeare. Follows exactlly Oxford printing of Richard III.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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