(P)2007 Audio Book Contractors, Inc.
You have to understand what you're getting with this. It's not a full, multivoice production; it's a single voice - in this case the wonderful Flo Gibson - reading all the parts, narrating the stage directions, and providing the speech prefixes as well. If you've ever attended a class or workshop where playwrights read their own scripts out loud, this is what it sounds like. Or this is what it would sound like if the playwright were as skilled a performer as Flo Gibson. The disadvantage is that it's clearly someone reading the script as opposed to performing the play. The advantage, especially in the case of Shaw, is that you get all the stage directions, and with each speech prefaced by the character's name, there's never any question about who's saying what or what's happening.
It's an odd play: a house in the country filled with eccentrics as over the top as the denizens of the Sycamore household in You Can't Take It With You. At times the action borders on the absurd or surrealistic. There are probably one or two character reversals too many for modern tastes, but there is no denying the eerie power of the closing scene, when all the lights go out and the bombs start falling. It's a play that grew out of Shaw's experience of World War One and the society that preceded it. As such, for all its bizarre and often farcical humor, it's probably one of his darkest plays.
I've never seen this on stage, so I don't have any particular opinion on how well it would work in live performance. In the meantime, Flo Gibson has provided a useful listen that gives you the same information you'd get if you read the full text of the playscript, with the additional advantage of hearing her expert take on the various characters.
This story is very long. The narrater, Flo Gibson, has the ability to use different character voices, but ruins the entire effect by predicating everything each character says with the character's name. Not only does this take you out of the suspension of belief, but it slows the deadpan dialogue down interminably.
I have tried to listen to it a couple of times and have fallen asleep part way through. Great for insomniacs.
Report Inappropriate Content