Strong of will and slender of ankle, 20-year-old orphan Flora Poste is blessed with every virtue save that of being able to earn her own living. Casting around for suitable relatives with whom she can make her home, Flora alights on the mysterious Starkadders and, ignoring the horrified shrieks of her friends, heads down to darkest Sussex.
There she is confronted by an exceptionally odd cast of characters: grief-stricken Judith, fervently religious Amos, the lusty smouldering Seth, wild and mysterious Elfine and, of course, the invisible tyrant Great Aunt Ada Doom who saw something nasty in the woodshed. Many would be overcome by the simmering passions of the Starkadder family, but not Flora. All they need is a little organising.
Stella Gibbons' deliciously witty parody has been delighting readers since 1932 and retains its original sunny charm in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation.
©2009 Stella Gibbons (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
....thunders Amos Starkadder, hell fire preacher at the Church of the Quivering Brethren. He has been describing the terrors of the afterlife and underlining the fact that there will be no butter to soothe the burns of the damned. This is just one of so many throw away lines that keep bringing back a smile.
Long ago as a teenager I devoured and enjoyed the emotion charged and dire tragedies of writers like Mary Webb, Thomas Hardy and George Eliot. Whilst not wishing to detract from great classic literature, they did tend to paint rural life of those times as full of doom, gloom, and poverty and peopled by sad.slightly deranged and pathetic characters down trodden by domineering, manipulative elders.
This glorious light hearted spoof on so many of those Victorian plot lines had me in stitches and I loved every moment. I usually steer clear of dramatisations, as for me the background sounds etc can be distracting. This one was clear as a bell and the narrators a delight.
If you listen to the sound sample above make sure you hear it all through as the start is NOT how the recording really sounds - just another teaser. Sit back and enjoy - this is fun.
Audible does it again making this excellent dramatisation of a classic comedy available to the digital age. Cold Comfort Farm is a wonderful parody of rural novels with a mad aunt in the attic, lusty cousins and religious fervour all mixed together. The production values result in a wonderful piece of audio entertainment.
Even though abridged, it was true to the book and every character had a marvelous reader. It was like listening to an extraordinary radio performance that my grandparents enjoyed back in the 30's, only much more elaborate with sound effects and crystal clear sound. I wish I had this to share with my grandmother during the last ten years of her life when she lost most of her sight due to glaucoma.
I was tickled with the names of everything from last names, towns, pub and Adam's cows. That Flora didn't flee after her first night after meeting her scary cousin Judith and seeing decades of filth and neglect. Also, her snobbery faded quickly after the first day and she became a likeable character that dealt well with each of these wonderful, complex characters.
I also loved the full cast, the farm noise background and sound effects. The rude barkeep "here's your spoon," and you here a spoon hitting a table. Rueben slurping his first proper cup of tea. When Flora lets the bull out...oh, everyone is shouting in the background about the bull.They spared nothing and gave everything. It's wonderful.
The hullabulu when Flora, Elfine and Seth came back from Dick Hawke-Monitor's party, where he proposed to Elfine. Amos announces he is hitting the road in a Ford to spread his special brand of preaching to save the Godless sinners. Elfine announces she is engaged and that sends Urk into a fit because she was promised his when she was an infant. Adam goes into a fit because his daughter Elfine is engaged. Urk decides he'll take another cousin there for a bride (a dirt crusted one to match his dirt crusted self) and suggests they both go outside and "sink into the mud together." Aunt Ada Doom goes into a granddaddy fit about "there's always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort." And "your leaving me to die alone in the nasty woodshed!" Dishes are clattering and hitting the floor, feet stomping and shuffling the floor. I think some chairs topple over. It's noisy and fun, and hilarious.
I also like the scene when the film producer Mr.Neck comes over and he offers to make Seth a "film star." Cousin Judith has a over the top fit that even impresses Mr.Neck. Aunt Ada is shouting out of her window, repeating "I saw something nasty in the woodshed". Mr.Neck replies, "did it see you?"
"Mybug" telling Flora about his theory behind the Bronte Sisters being secret drunks and not the authors of their books. Especially funny about "Mybug's" theory how Wuthering Heights was written. It's hard to pick one specific favorite scene. They are all terrific.
Under Milk Wood (Dramatised) Dylan Thomas with Richard Burton has a full cast and has excellent sound quality. I highly recommend it.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
"Cold Comfort Farm" is very dated and very British. It's a send-up of a kind of rural novel popular at the turn of the 20th Century -- dour, secretive characters living foreboding lives on isolated, atmospheric farms on the fens or the moors of England.
Aunt Ada Doom and the Starkadders trudge through existence on Cold Comfort Farm ("There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort!") There are also the brooding, sex-starved sons Seth and Rueben, the grumbling, illiterate servants, and the cows (Aimless, Feckless, Graceless and Pointless). Into this seething mass of eccentricity drops Miss Flora Poste, a bright young thing from London whose parents have just died, leaving her with little money and the need to seek out a place to live among relatives. The Starkadders are it, and Flora is determined to set their lives straight in short order!
It's giggle-and-laugh out loud funny! As though, in America, Dorothy Parker suddenly found herself in the wilds of Appalachia. Stella Gibbons wrote the book in 1932, and this is a radio dramatization. The actors are wonderful, but beware some of the country accents (intentionally nearly incomprehensible at times). In the background, you can hear the lowing and cackling of the beasts, the ever-present thunder storms, and the sucking of the mud in the pasture.
This is 3 1/2 hours of great fun! Not for everyone, but lovers of all things British, Masterpiece Theater, and something really different are in for a treat.
This production does full justice to the novel. If you're familiar with Cold Comfort Farm already, that's probably all the information you need. If you aren't, you're in for a treat. Tip: don't listen to this dramatization in public places. I don't care how ironclad your control of your facial expression is-- you'll laugh, repeatedly, and everyone will give you odd looks.
Other unintended effects of this sublime work of pastoral satire include the utter ruination of any beast-based figurative language; absentminded pondering of the condiments available in hell; and worrying that cows may disintegrate when you aren't looking.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.