To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world. The unabridged drama is also presented without commentary.
If school turned you off Shakespeare, find out what you've been missing all these years with this beautifully crafted audio presentation.
From the creators of SmartPass audio education study guides, voted third in a national poll to find the UK's favourite audibook (2008). Winners of 3 Spoken Word Awards for Best Drama (2004), Best Original Audio and Best Publishing Initiative (2005).
©2007 SmartPass Ltd; (P)2007 SmartPass Ltd
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First of all, let me say that "Twelfth Night" is wonderful Shakespeare. It's great for an introduction to the bard: the story is easy to follow, the language is beautiful, there's music and comedy, and the characters are very appealing.
The format here is the difference. There's an introduction, with background on the play as well as a brief biography of Shakespeare and his times. Then, the play begins. A narrator interrupts the action every few lines to re-phrase in "plain English" what's been said. This sort of interpretation is helpful to newcomers to the play, but it can also be quite distracting and, understandably, disrupts the flow of the production. For the best experience of the play itself, I think the way to proceed would be to listen first to a version without the commentary, then to this.
The commentary is quite good, I think. The explanations are presented clearly, and there is a distinction between information that is historical and that which is purely speculative (as much of Shakespeare's personal history must be).
This approach to "Twelfth Night" might be an excellent way to prepare for seeing a production of the play and is of interest to anyone wanting to experience it in considerable depth. Like others in the series, "Twelfth Night: Shakespeare Appreciated" is an obviously well-researched and well-executed effort. The experience might, however, require more commitment than the casual playgoer/reader wants.
The only reason I would have given this four stars, is because Twelfth Night isn't my favorite Shakespeare play. On the other hand, this group of narrators gets 5 stars!! This is the third book I have purchased in Shakespeare Appreciated. It won't be the last.
"Very Much Pleased!"
It is most likely I would, though there are a few obscene references throughout the narration that may detour me from recommending it to all audiences.
This is the type of audiobook that is great for introducing someone to Twelfth Night. The narrator does a great job by first introducing Shakespeare, explaining his era, giving some historical details concerning his writings and life, and then delving into the play -- in which she gives helpful explanations and insights throughout. That being said, I also think it is wonderful how they include the play WITHOUT the explanatory narratives in the later part of the audiobook, thus making it a good choice for those who know the story of Twelfth Night as well.
Viola, for her bravery and selflessness; Orsino, for his depth of emotions and loyal heart.
Good insights, great explanations, historical background.
Perhaps -- it would highly depend on the listener. I personally, being a lover of Shakespearean drama, finished it within one to two sittings, thoroughly enjoying it.
Though I was very happy with this audiobook, there are a few negatives to it which I feel I must mention.
Firstly, as mentioned afore, there are a few references made by the narrator that were a bit obscene. Now, I know that Shakespeare's writings are full of innuendoes and sexual references, but I felt the narrator was a bit tactless at times when explaining them. I also think that some of the explanations were more based on personal opinion than fact. Shakespeare often left his writings up to interpretation, and thus I feel the narrator should not just present her listeners with her view, but also either an explanation of that view (why she finds it to be so) or a counter view (another person's take).
Secondly, the first half of this audiobook (the history on Shakespeare, and the play that is interrupted with narration) is pretty much only for a onetime use. Once you've heard the history, you know it; once you've heard the play explained once, you don't really want to listen to it again with all of the narrators interruptions. This isn't too much of a negative however, seeing that the second half of the audiobook is the uninterrupted version of the play.
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