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Publisher's Summary

BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard.

Each word of this production builds a picture of richness and complexity of Shakespeare's characters. The clarity of radio gives added poignancy to the young Prince's struggles and greater depth to Falstaff's exuberance.

Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.

© and (P)1999 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    6
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    2
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  • Overall

Heavily abridged...

Invariably, and inexcusably, BBC shortens Shakespeare, and they apply an ax rather than a scalpel. This is a particularly egregious example. As one would expect, the introducer emphasizes the genius that Falstaff represents as a comic creation, and he tells us: "It is said, that Elizabethan audiences used to stop cracking their nuts when Falstaff came on stage, so as not to miss a syllable. They had the right idea." To give you just an example: In Act I, scene two, 55 lines of a total of 215 are omitted, 30 of which are Falstaff's.

This is not slightly abridging; it is butchery.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kian
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 07-04-09

Enjoyed it. But slightly abridged

I enjoyed this radio production. The only weak points for me concern abridgment. The performance is slightly abridged which isn't generally a problem, although surprisingly the performance omits Hotspur's famous boast in Act one, scene three (By heaven methinks...). Also the Audible website does not appear to have the full list of actors.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mary
  • Bridgewater, NJ, United States
  • 08-26-08

Seems of the screen rather than the stage

I enjoyed this audio play, but I still prefer the Arkangel version. Both have the Glovers as the two kings. The biggest difference is the Falstaff. Both are good, but the Falstaff of Richard Griffiths seems much more vibrant and alive. Overall, this recording seems more contrived and remote, like the difference between a movie and a live play.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Falstaff!!

King Henry IV introduces one of Shakespeare's greatest literary characters, Falstaff. This historical play hops along nicely and has wonderful parallels in its characters that serve to emphasize the duality of each character's role in the play (and history). This is not one of my favorites and it seems that I prefer the tragedies over Shakespeare's historical plays, but of course, this being Shakespeare and all, it was well worth the read.

  • Overall
  • Douglas
  • New Rochelle, NY, USA
  • 12-21-07

Henry IV part I

A good all-around version of this Shakespeare classic. I enjoyed it. DN

1 of 5 people found this review helpful