BBC Radio Shakespeare

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Warren Mitchell, Martin Jarvis, Samuel West, Full Cast
  • 2 hrs and 1 mins
  • Performance

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. Love, bigotry, greed, and justice are entwined in this clear, fast-moving production, where the precision of radio gives added resonance to the powerful words of the trial scene. Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

fast and charming

This is excellent stuff- light, fast, convincing and fun. Well done to the BBC for playing it as a comedy and sliding nimbly over the moral issues. No one would argue that the attitude of the young Venetian men to Jews was a nice one- but the play needs them to be amusing company- not over blessed with brain, certainly, but young, active, in love and full of joie de vivre.

Warren Mitchell gives a thoroughly Jewish and nuanced Shylock- a comic villian with just the right edge of pathos, he really lives and breathes and burns with a growing lust for revenge. He manages the feat of growing worse and becoming more poigiant at the same time

Martin Jarvis is nicely balanced and not too self-pitying as Antonio- he is possibly a little bit too benevelent to carry off the hating of Shylock.

Samuel West (that gift to Shakespeare audio) is, of course, an excellent Bassiano- though I thought him a bit too short tempered- as if, perhaps, afraid to make a jew-hater sound too nice. Bassiano, surely, as the centre of affection in the play should be the personification of charm.

But the highlight of the recording as to be Juliet Aubrey as Portia- her marvellous low voice glides through Shakespeare's lines in a gloriously measured way- equally excellent in comedy scenes as in the court room- Oh she's marvellous, buy it just for her.

The one drawback is that they have abridged the play- not drastically, just slimmed it down here and there and changed the odd word- but it is very quick and charming and at the end one almost believes that even Shylock might live happily ever after.

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- Philip

The Merchant of Venice

Wasn't sure when purchasing whether this was 'abridged' as it wasn't stated but having listened to it am fairly sure that it was. Completely unfamiliar with the play and enjoyed this intro - would now long to see a stage version
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- kerrymay

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-03-2005
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited