Tales of the City: Series 1 and 2

Two BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations
Length: 2 hrs and 18 mins
3 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lydia Wilson and Kate Harper star in these BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations of the first and second novels in Armistead Maupin's acclaimed Tales of the City series.

Set against the 1970s San Fransisco skyline, Maupin's Tales of the City introduces the unconventional tenants of 28 Barbary Lane, the domain of the eccentric, marijuana-growing landlady Anna Madrigal.

Mary Ann Singleton, a naive young woman newly arrived from Cleveland, Ohio, moves into an apartment there and soon becomes friends with other tenants of the building: the hippyish bisexual Mona Ramsey; the strange Norman Neal Williams; and Michael Tolliver, a sweet and personable gay man known to his friends as Mouse. Beyond the house, lovers and friends guide Mary Ann through her San Franciscan adventures....

In More Tales of the City, landlady Anna Madrigal reveals her secrets to her tenants, but they are preparing to flee their cosy nest for adventures further afield.

Dramatised by Barbara Lavery, this is both a sparkling comedy of manners and a portrait of a free and easy era.

Cast:

  • Anna Madrigal.....Kate Harper
  • Mary Ann.....Lydia Wilson
  • DeDe.....Nancy Crane
  • Mona.....Buffy Davis
  • Edgar.....Lou Hirsch
  • Frannie/Binkie/Mucca.....Bernice Stegers
  • Beauchamp.....John Guerrasio
  • Michael.....Jos Slovick
  • Jon/Brian.....Simon Lee Phillips
  • D'Or/Betty.....Valerie Cutko
  • Siegel/Hampton-Giddes/Norman/Bruno.....Kerry Shale
  • Burke.....Trevor White

Produced and directed by Susan Roberts.

©2017 Armistead Maupin (P)2017 Penguin Random House UK

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Nice radio play

This is a nice short version of the first two books in the Tales of the City series. Great cast and good music that fits this.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Dreadful

A complete waste of money. Terrible adaptation, performances overly theatrical, and confusing for those who don't already know the books. I can't even get beyond the first chapter. Just terrible.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • P. A. Dourado
  • 04-29-18

Too choppy by far. And rotten accents.

Hmmm ... If you love the books, I’d give this a miss to avoid disappointment.

Races through with very choppy edits that leave you thinking “Who’s speaking now?”

Not helped by the actors’ voices being largely interchangeable. And the accents strange: D’orothea declares herself to be Oakland born and bred, mystifyingly in what appears to be a Deep South accent.

The era-defining music takes up as much time as the thin dialogue and could have been pare down to allow for more actual words.

Channel 4 did it much better with the TV series.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Culwen
  • 01-07-20

It’s somewhat lacking

This dramatisation lacks substance. It’s like a cliffnotes version of the book where each major plot device is separated only by a musical interlude. It wouldn’t harm to flesh out the story a bit. Although some of the sound and music was great, it felt purely conversational. I’ve heard a few good dramatisations and they all had narration.