Written entirely in verse, the rhythms of the language in this epic tragedy encompass its themes of dignity and kingship with fitting grandeur and pathos, as the capricious and narcissistic Richard is brought to his own destruction.
Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.
© and (P)2000 BBC Worldwide Ltd
This is excellent. admittedly it's rather slow, and not the most exciting play Shakespeare ever wrote- but this audio book has tremendous charm, I've listened to it repeatedly.
It's the BBC, of course- and it shows; excellent cast and superbly produced with all those tiny sound effects- rain, a bird cry, the click of billiard balls- which one barely notices but which make it all seem real.
I remember a critic writing that he found all Samuel West's performances strangely cold. If that is true it suits the role of Richard ii, he really captures the peevish, self-pitying poetry.
I forget who plays Harry of Hereford, but he's excellent, a real feeling of vigor and action with the right degree of temper and coldness. His charismatic brute force carries along the play- and he does very well with some of the doggerel he has to spout.
The only real flaw is the sound effects- symbolic objects, such as crowns, give off a mystical vibration, which is fine for crowns. Unfortuately gauntlets also give off a peculiar sound and in the scene where everyone is throwing down their gauntlets it sounds like a row in a tin-can factory.
The other draw back is that the BBC didn't cast this and the two Henry IVs together.
This is an all star cast that does Richard II justice. Beautifully nuanced performances that bring meaning to what can be a difficult play to get to grips with. The language is brought to life by skilled actors like Samuel West, Joss Ackland and Damien Lewis. Recommended for all students of Shakespeare.
"Hard to tell which character is speaking"
This is beautifully recorded by the BBC, but without knowing the play well, it gets confusing -- who is talking now. Perhaps a cast with audio might help, an audio legend of sorts. Nonetheless, I am glad to have visited this wonderful play again, with a fine cast and great tempo.
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