Those decades of experience come to fruition in this production. The intimacy of radio gives full rein to the power of Shakespeare's language, taking the listener into the very centre of Hamlet's emotional and moral turmoil.
Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.
© and (P)1999 BBC Worldwide Ltd
This version of Hamlet brings Shakespeare's drama to life. Martin Sheen and a fantastic supporting cast do justice to the fact that all Shakespeare's plays were written to be performed. The actor's voices lift the word off the page.
Hamlet, not surprisingly, is the towering presence in this version as Sheen adds new meaning to familiar speeches but I also enjoyed the portrayal of Ophelia as a strong female character, making her demise all the more poignant.
Experienced actors bring new meaning and understanding to the play, which is in itself astoundingly relevant despite it's age and longevity.
Beware the smiling assassin!
Loved it! Especially useful if you are studying the play at school or University
Superb cast make this not only highly listenable but also very comprehensible. You might think that an audio-only Shakespeare play would be hard to follow, with characters entering and exiting, but this production works very well. It rattles along at a brisk pace, and grips with the layers of deceit and evil. Kenneth Cranham, as the murderous Claudius, particularly oozes with horrible charm.
This is a very good reading of Hamlet and any lover of the material will enjoy it. I especially loved Michael Sheen's characterization of the melancholy dane. He was unstable, angry and emotional. In my opinion, this is exactly how Hamlet SHOULD be played. As I listened I could visualize everything in my head as though I were watching it on a screen. In fact, I am now eager to see Michael Sheen play Hamlet on stage (apparently he will be doing so in London in 2011). I recommend this audiobook version of Hamlet to all Hamlet fans.
"For use in my English class"
No, but I think that reading the play while listening to this enhances the experience, for this fully dramatized version has different actors for all the parts and the sound effects enhance many of the Acts, especially the final battle.
I use this audio version in my classroom, and it really helps my students to follow along with the audio as we read the play. The performance is the best version of Hamlet I have heard.
"high marks for this version"
I've recently listened to several of the plays and this Hamlet a few times in past couple of weeks and I have to say this is a very good version: well acted, nice production and vigorous performances that I liked for Hamlet and Claudius particularly. The man in Claudius role sounds like James Mason. All in all a good performance. & as much as I respect Gielgud his audio version here feels so slow and ponderous that I have trouble with it. I also like the Branagh film version very much with a couple of caveats, but accessible. All the plays can be performed with such a range of approach that it is informative to pick up on a different intonation/emphasis of even a single word that makes you think, wait a minute, I never realized that aspect before, or that's a new approach. Literally a "poem unlimited."
"Does the job"
Michael Sheen is a very good Dane - excitable and passionate. Everyone else is competent but forgettable.
"I wanted to love it"
But just didn't. I think most likely wasn't the material, but the medium. While there was different voices for different characters, it was hard to follow who was saying what and how the story tied together. Probably better read than listened to.
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