Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Believed written and first performed in England around 1598. BBC Radio Shakespeare audiobook production published in 2001.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the audiobook download of this production from Audible via
Buy the CD audiobook via Alibris
Buy the CD audiobook from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen

How I got this book:
Bought from Audible

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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. In Much Ado, the clarity of radio allows the wonderful verbal sparring between Beatrice and Benedick to sparkle as high comedy and melodrama mix magically in a combination of prose and verse. Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.

As a result of my Othello and New Boy reviews, I was contacted by author Hollie Moat with an offer of a review copy of her novel, Other People's Business, based upon Much Ado About Nothing. Of course, I was glad to use this as an opportunity to revisit my BBC audiobook of the original play as a memory refresher!

A talented cast that includes David Tennant, Samantha Spiro, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Emilia Fox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, David Haig and Maxine Peake bring Much Ado About Nothing vibrantly to life in this BBC Radio audiobook. The cast are obviously having great fun and their enjoyment comes across particularly in the wickedly sharp verbal sparring scenes between Beatrice and Benedick, when each is hiding to eavesdrop, and when the Constable is mangling his word choices. The play itself is entertaining although the plot gets quite silly in the latter stages! Not knowing the play thoroughly, I couldn't always immediately tell exactly who was speaking, but this didn't affect my understanding of the narrative as character identifies became clear as each scene progressed. Perhaps pure audio isn't quite as satisfying as seeing Shakespeare performed on stage, but I felt the format allowed me to concentrate more on the words spoken and to appreciate the Bard's wonderful turns of phrase.

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Books by William Shakespeare / Plays / Books from England

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