Listen to Professor Harold Bloom's conversation on Hamlet as Everyman.
(P)1997 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©1997 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
This is a first-rate production of the play. It's clean, complete, and well-acted. Music and sound-effects are tasteful. At times, it might be a little bit too quiet, say, for airplanes, but these moments are few and far between. Overal, I wanted an audible copy I could keep coming back to like the text, and that's precisely what they've delivered.
My chief criterion in evaluating a dramatized performance of Shakespeare is that none of the lines are left out, save a few words here and there. Secondly, I also appreciate accurate sound effects, and a subtle "soundtrack," and a good overall recording quality. By all of these measurements this Naxos production of Hamlet scores well. The main problem is that, in a couple of scenes, Hamlet himself starts speaking way too fast for one to take in the lines. One might argue that this play is soooo long that, since this company has - quite justifiably - decided to remain loyal to Shakespeare's script, it only makes sense that they would have to hurry it up a bit. A few reviewers have failed to take the validity of this argument into account. The BBC Shakespeare productions are invariably bad about leaving out large chunks of important dialog. Any geek like you or me who listens to audible dramatizations of Shakespeare will insist on every verse being spoken.
This is not directed at those who are already familiar with Hamlet and have read the play before. This audiobook was my first experience with Hamlet, however, and the action is very difficult to follow. I'm not familiar with Elizabethan English, and the actors generally speak very quickly with some exceptions, such as Claudius. (Hamlet himself, however, is not an exception.) I listen to books in my car, but even taking the background noise into account, the changes in volume were extreme. At several points I had to turn the volume up so high -- even to hear that anyone was speaking at all! -- that I worried that when some new character entered and the volume returned to normal, my ears would be hurt.
While those who have read the play may get a better appreciation for the work by hearing it dramatized, (and the use of sound and music is well-done, to be fair) I would not recommend that someone unfamiliar with the play use this production as a first exposure to Hamlet.
I have to admit that this audio book was probably the best that i have every heard. The narration and speaking made me feel as if i was in the time and watching them do all these actions live.
If you're not able to actually watch the play on stage or film, then this is perhaps the next best thing. Pretty well acted out with music and sound effects. Only real complaint is it isn't broken up into scenes and acts for easy skipping around (or if it is, I haven't figured out how to do it).
This adaptation of Hamlet was beyond great. I loved the background music! I greatly reccomend this version!
The obvious comfort the actors had in performing their roles. The expression that the actors put into their roles really made the play enjoyable for me.
Othello. Both are powerhouse plays in the which the actors get to really step up and give exceptional performances.
The real sense of seeing the play performed and real emotions expressed.
An unsurpassed performance of Shakespeare's greatest work.
Outstanding performance. I'm already listening to it for a second time. Thank you.
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