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True West

Narrated by: Kit Harington, Johnny Flynn
Length: 1 hr and 27 mins
3 out of 5 stars (2,411 ratings)

Regular price: $7.95

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Publisher's Summary

Kit Harington (Games of Thrones) and Johnny Flynn (Beast) smolder and burn as sparring brothers in Sam Shepard’s darkly comic 1980 drama. The Cain and Abel conflict is a showdown of sibling rivalry, to be sure, but also bears witness to a legacy of booze-fueled family brawls. As Harington and Flynn duel it out, they bring a cagey, wiry energy to director Matthew Dunster’s West End revival of this Pulitzer Prize finalist. The portrait of the estranged pair is a riveting study in contrasts as Harington’s successful screenwriter and Flynn’s scheming grifter explosively collide in the California desert. The scorched, arid setting is more than just a backdrop; its expanse and emptiness make it a palpable presence in a play about wounded masculinity and broken dreams. 

The live theatre production of True West was performed at the Vaudeville Theatre in London, United Kingdom, in 2019. It was produced by Joseph Smith and John Brant for Smith & Brant Theatricals and James Bierman for Empire Street Productions.   

Portions of this audio drama contain mature language and themes. Listener discretion is advised.  

©2019 AO Media (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.
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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 04-05-19

Screenwriters, golf and brother's hate

This theatre production include swearing, violence, and discussions on alcoholism. It you have an issue with any of that it may not be for you.

The story is two brothers who are catching up after a long time being separate. They have never got along and a lot of the problems and history boil to the surface here. One of the brothers is a success, currently house sitting for their mother, while working on a screenplay. When the other brother, generally a failure and criminal, starts interfering with the screen play and with the sale to a movie company the tension between the brothers rise quickly.

The story is interesting and intense. The tensions and hate between the two flies off the page. I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what was happening next.

However, it also doesn't lend itself to audio only in places. There are sometimes gaps in audio when they are following stage movements, and so what is happening isn't clear. Other times there are things they are doing that isn't exactly clear because it's not in the dialogue. The sound effects help, but not fully. Visuals would help significantly. It''s not that you can't follow the story without visuals, it's just it's not always clear.

The acting by Harington, Flynn and others is really great. It is extremely well performed and the characters come to life. The emotions - the hate, disgust, excitement, anger etc. felt by the brothers is clear and palpable. It is extremely well acted.

The levels on the audio are not mixed great. Between scenes there is much, but it is mixed at a higher level than the other parts. After the first scene there is a really loud, booming, foreboding horn played. As it was the first time it really took me by surprise and actually hurt a little. Other times it is high energy exciting. But every time it is loud.

Personally I wasn't a fan of the sound production. There is also a huge 'wall of sound' to the whole production. Crickets in the background for entire scenes, type writer noise or other background noise and music.

This would be a play I would love to actually see on stage. As an audio only production, it is really good but not amazing.

[If you enjoy this review please check out my other reviews. I review a lot of small press and indie books - support the small guys and you may find something new you will love]

251 of 261 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Awesome if you are into lots of yelling

I only made it halfway through. It was like being a bartender in a noisy bar and being forced to listen to drunk men yell at each other, in hopes of maybe getting a tip at the end. It wasn't worth waiting for the tip.

59 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The narration have me a headache

I might have enjoyed hearing this story if it wasn’t screamed in such an over the top fashion. I couldn’t wait for it to end, and when it did I was disappointed with the conclusion.

55 of 60 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Y I K E S

A massacre of Shepard’s work. The American accents were so bad, I had to turn it off at 1:24.
Even though this was free this month, I overpaid...

48 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Awful..

Really could not get into this one... I got thru it, but barely... Super surprised as I usually can kinda enjoy anything.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Very Bad

I’ve never seen the play or any adaptation, but I recalled the title, and with Kit Harington in it I thought I would give it a shot as one of my free originals.

The only positive is that it is short, so not too much of your time is wasted.

Everything in this play is extremely underdeveloped. I couldn’t care less about either of the characters. All of the dialogue feels condensed and stripped. I assume this is a complete performance of the play? If that is true, Sam Shepard must have won a bet with a producer to get this made, as it is all awful.

The performances are quite bad as well, everyone is using peculiar accents that sound like caricatures of the people they are supposed to be.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Nominated for a Pulitzer in 1983?!

I chose this both because it was a free option this month and because I've been a Sam Shepard fan (his play, "Buried Child," is incredible, for instance). But gosh, I didn't think this was very strong. I don't think it was necessarily a performance problem, though since this is only the second time I've *listened* to a play without *seeing* it simultaneously, I cannot be sure. There seemed to be more yelling than might have been necessary.

I do think the story itself is...not compelling. In fact, I'm not sure how to describe the story. Is it about tensions between brothers? Difficulty with getting writing produced? Angst about not being part of a well-educated world that seemingly might make the difference? (One brother makes several snarky references to "fancy degrees.") Or is it partially about the "west"? (If so, that part needed to be significantly more developed.) Or is it about intergenerational distance and the pain of remembering one's dysfunctional parents? Or the pain of realizing the past cannot be reclaimed? The play tries to do a lot of things simultaneously. I didn't think it worked and that the play lacked focus.

I'm surprised to read (Thanks Wikipedia!) that it was nominated in 1983 for a Pulitzer. I could make a joke about that...but let's just say "your mileage may vary." I didn't like it. But this is just a layperson's perspective. I'm not a professional critic...then again, are the critics always right?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars

not enjoyable

I couldn't finish. the voices annoyed me so much. the one drunk brother was beyond annoying to listen too I made it 30 minutes in before I gave up and deleted it. it was free with my subscription. it was a waste. it could be a great story honestly but I could not get past the voice. I love kit harrington so I was so excited to see he was voiced in this only to be greatly disappointed.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Overall great performance, Story a bit stale

The voice over artists for Lee and Austin were fantastic throughout the entirety of the work. The mother was disappointing compared to them in the later half of the story. the story was very odd and managed to hold my attention, but it was a bit stale and I can say with certainty that I wouldn't listen again. Probably the only reason I made it through to the end was due to the brothers performances.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I'm glad that was free

That was probably the dumbest thing I think I have ever listened to. An episode of Sponge Bob has more intelligent than that. The actors did a really good job portraying idiots though.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren Fletcher
  • 04-16-19

Family feud with grit and wit.

Would love to see live but this is the next best thing. Brill thanks 😁

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr T A Crossley
  • 04-16-19

Brothers at War

An unusual choice for Audible as this is a cast recording of an excellent but very visible production of Sam Shepherd's curious play performed recently at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. Great work by the two leads, Kit Harrington and Johnny Flynn. A must for anyone studying contemporary American drama - a bit of a puzzle for anyone who has not seen or read the play

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • dianne
  • 04-05-19

Love True West

Saw the play 7 times, love the audible was fun to listen to and imagine the actors on stage

1 of 2 people found this review helpful