These audio adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night make for worthwhile listening even when they fall short of their mark. The plays are transformed into narratives, but the judicious selection of key scenes and dialogue, combined with the full-cast performance, retains the flavor of the originals. Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet are both exceptionally well cast and played. Parts of Midsummer are overacted, and the voices in the character-packed Twelfth Night fail to distinguish themselves. Even with these weaknesses, this collection provides a nice introduction for children who might encounter one of these plays in a live production or in the classroom.
©1996, 1997, 1999, 2003 Bruce Coville; (P)2003 Full Cast Audio
Bruce Coville does a wonderful job at adapting these four Shakespearean greats for children. You can get them as story/illustrated books as well, they are fantastic.
Two of the plays are told by one narrator, the other two use a full cast for characters. Both ways were fun, but the full cast definitely adds a lot of charm.
I watched a group of 11-14 year old kids listen to this version of "Twelfth Night" to familiarize them with the storyline in preparation for performing the play. I loved watching them laugh and really "get" the plot, humor & all of it. Twelfth Night is one of the "full cast" productions and it is really full of humor. Duke Orsino is so well played, whiny, silly love-sick voice and all.
I would definitely suggest this audio and/or the accompanying books as introductions to Shakespeare.
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