Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2013
Audie Award, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
This production of Dracula is presented by what is possibly the best assemblage of narrating talent ever for one audiobook: Emmy Award nominees Alan Cumming and Tim Curry plus an all-star cast of Audie award-winners Simon Vance (The Millenium Trilogy), Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Susan Duerden (The Tiger’s Wife), John Lee (Supergods) and customer favorites Graeme Malcolm (Skippy Dies), Steven Crossley (The Oxford Time Travel series), Simon Prebble (The Baroque Cycle), James Adams (Letters to a Young Contrarian), Nicola Barber (The Rose Garden), Victor Villar-Hauser (Fun Inc.), and Marc Vietor (1Q84). These stellar narrators have been cast as follows:
Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward
Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker
Katy Kellgren as Mina Murray/Harker
Susan Duerden as Lucy Westenra
Tim Curry as Van Helsing
Graeme Malcolm as Dailygraph correspondent
Steven Crossley as Zookeeper’s account and reporter
Simon Prebble as Varna
James Adams as Patrick Hennessey
Nicola Barber as Sister Agatha
Victor Villar-Hauser as Arthur Holmwood
Marc Vietor as Quincey Morris
John Lee as Introductory paragraph, various letters
Followers of the popular vampire literary and film interpretations of recent years might be blasé about another performance of the exquisitely written novel that started it all. But listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling. The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel, which includes journal entries and letters. Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread. The famed vampire Count Dracula leaves a swath of exsanguinated bodies in his wake as he attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England in 1897, stalked by the brave Van Helsing.
Using Bram Stoker’s original epistolary (letters) and diary structure and a multi-voiced cast of talented and well-known actors, the Audible Studios edition of Dracula is a real treat and has won two Audie Awards. The vampire Count Dracula, having fallen in love with Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina, follows him from Transylvania to England, leaving a swath of dead bodies in his wake, their blood sucked dry. The all-star cast of this thrilling audiobook includes Alan Cumming as Dr Seward, Tim Curry as Van Helsing and Simon Vance as Harker.
"Listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling…The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel…Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread." (AudioFile)
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Kallgren lowers the rating
- Amazon Customer
Good, but some miscast voices and dull chapters
The first half, full of the bizarre horrors of Dracula's castle and the slow build towards his journey to England, is great. Even after all these years, it's some really creepy and atmospheric text, which the cast do a very good job of conveying. Unfortunately, I thought that the second half could really drag on at times, with far too much time being spent on long, dull monologues about how lovely Mina is and how everyone loves her for being so lovely. The last couple of chapters seemed to be more concerned with train schedules and further discussion of Mina's loveliness, rather than building up to a satisfying climax.
The cast all does a very good at voicing the various journals, diaries, telegrams, and newspapers that make up the book, however the voice actor for Jonathan Harker sounds far too old for the part. I got used to this and accepted it because he was a great narrator, yet it still felt like an odd bit of casting. Also, you see "Tim Curry as Van Helsing" and think about all the great speeches that Van Helsing has, right? Well, Tim Curry doesn't actually say any of them! I would guess that over half of Van Helsing's dialogue is written in Mina's diary, which means that Mina's actress is the one who has to speak them with a not-quite-the-same-accent-Tim-Curry-is-doing accent. I can't blame the casting for this and the actress is a good enough narrator that you just get used to it, but it's still very disappointing that Curry isn't really given anything interesting to work with.
The actress foorr. Luu-see. Has a strange-lee hypnotic waay. Of taalk-iing. I doe-n't knooww hooww. Best tooo. Des-cribe iit.
To be fair, I think she's just overdoing the "sweet and delicate" voice early in the story, because she does sound much more natural later on and actually gives a very touching performance by the end. The rest of the cast are far more consistent and I have to give credit to the actress for Mina, because her many chapters include a lot of different characters and she does a great job of managing all of them (except for what I think was meant to be a Yorkshire accent that she tries to do for a character early on, which was absolutely terrible). Also, Alan Cumming deserves top billing for Dr Steward, as his chapters tended to be the highlights.
Talk like Lucy in public places and then get asked to leave by very concerned staff.
- David S