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Nicholas O'Brien

  • 9
  • reviews
  • 2
  • helpful votes
  • 9
  • ratings
  • Season's Greetings (Classic Radio Theatre)

  • By: Alan Ayckbourn
  • Narrated by: Frances Barber, Phil Daniels, Bill Nighy, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Christmas is the season of good cheer and harmony among men, but things are not working out quite that way in the Bunker household. As a motley collection of friends and relatives fill the house with their own wishes, dreams and attitudes, the stage is set for seasonal disharmony and romantic intrigue. It’s Christmas Eve and while Belinda is rushing around decorating the tree and seeing to all the guests and their needs, Eddie and Pattie are having a serious bust-up.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best

  • By miss on 01-12-13

A classic suburban farce

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-01-19

Conjures up the sort of Christmas family gathering we all fear. Even if your family is quite different Ayckbourn conjures up something which seems horribly familiar.

  • Waiting for Godot

  • By: Samuel Beckett
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett, David Burke, Terence Rigby, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75

There is now no doubt that not only is Waiting for Godot the outstanding play of the 20th century, but it is also Samuel Beckett's masterpiece. Yet it is both a popular text to be studied at school and an enigma. The scene is a country road. There is a solitary tree. It is evening. Two tramp-like figures, Vladimir and Estragon, exchange words. Pull off boots. Munch a root vegetable. Two other curious characters enter. And a boy. Time passes. It is all strange yet familiar.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • In a word, Brilliant

  • By Gryfynn on 21-01-17

An excellent production

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-01-19

An admirable demonstration of how to transfer a stage play to audio only. The performances show the way that familiarity is the basis for friendship and cruelty, the importance of companionship which is more than enforced proximity.

  • The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas

  • BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: full cast, Simon Russell Beale
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,401
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,267
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,259

The complete collection of acclaimed BBC Radio dramas based on John le Carré's best-selling novels, starring Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley. With a star cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron, Brian Cox, Ian MacDiarmid, Anna Chancellor, Hugh Bonneville and Lindsay Duncan, these enthralling dramatisations perfectly capture the atmosphere of le Carré's taut, thrilling spy novels.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent series

  • By Chill on 29-06-16

A great set of voices.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-10-18

they conjure the seedy weariness of Cold War espionage. Little is noble. Much is corrupt and sad.

  • The Bat

  • A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 1
  • By: Jo Nesbo
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,278
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,816
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,805

Harry is out of his depth. Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. He's not supposed to get too involved. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry. He might just be the next victim.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great introduction to Harry Hole.

  • By Richard on 04-12-12

A good way to see what the fuss is about.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-18

What made the experience of listening to The Bat the most enjoyable?

Sean Barrett is always a pleasure to listen to. He tells the story as if it is his narrative.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Quietly satisfied. It ended with the right level of resolution after suitable and well constructed tension.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

It conveyed a sense of place through the eyes of an enquiring visitor.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The descriptions of alcoholism and its various levels.

Any additional comments?

I would not rush to buy one to read but I would listen to another.

Lysistrata cover art
  • Lysistrata

  • By: Aristophanes
  • Narrated by: Claire Heffron
  • Length: 1 hr and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Aristophanes wrote what is perhaps his most recognized work in the modern world, Lysistrata. In it, the Athenian title character concocts a plan to end the Peloponnesian War. Her plan is simply that the women of Athens make a pact to withhold sexual favors of any kind from their husbands until the war is ended. The older women of Athens, including widows, take control of the Acropolis and thus, the purse strings for the war.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • It would put anyone off Greek Theatre.

  • By Nicholas O'Brien on 20-02-18

It would put anyone off Greek Theatre.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-18

What would have made Lysistrata better?

It needed to be read with character, pacing and accurately (although that final point is the fault of the editor/producer). It turned a witty comedy into a something which could have been a recipe for grey paint.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It was impossible to distinguish between them.

Would you be willing to try another one of Claire Heffron’s performances?

Only if it was not going to cost me anything.

Any additional comments?

This is an A level text which I downloaded so that my son and I could enjoy and talk about the work. But it was so badly done it was almost impossible to appreciate why the play has survived for thousands of years.

  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 62

Jason Taverner - world-famous talk show host and man-about-town - wakes up one day to find that no one knows who he is - including the vast databases of the totalitarian government. And in a society where lack of identification is a crime, Taverner has no choice but to go on the run with a host of shady characters, including crooked cops and dealers of alien drugs. But do they know more than they are letting on? And just how can a person's identity be erased overnight?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic PKD

  • By r m allan on 02-01-17

A great example of why Philip K Dick is as interesting as Orwell.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-18

The use of a future setting allows the author to explore human behaviour and itge way patterns endure in different times. Beautifully read.

  • The Tales of Max Carrados

  • By: Ernest Bramah
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 444
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 415
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 413

Exclusive audio collection. Eleven Max Carrados stories - narrated by national treasure Stephen Fry. Max Carrados featured in a series of mystery stories that first appeared in 1914. Carrados featured alongside Sherlock Holmes in The Strand magazine, in which they both had top billing. The character often boasted how being blind meant his other senses were heightened. This exclusive audio collection features 11 Max Carrados stories.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very enjoyable!

  • By Miss L Wonfor on 28-04-16

An ideal audio book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-17

This collection of tales takes Carrados from the beginning of the 20th century through to after WWI. They are excellent mysteries although the earlier stories are more whodunit and the later ones how did he solve that? Well read by Stephen Fry who shows that they were almost designed to listened to than read... as you might expect from a blind detective.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Henry VIII

  • Arkangel Shakespeare
  • By: William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by: Paul Jesson, Jane Lapotaire, Timothy West
  • Length: 2 hrs and 48 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

King Henry is married to Katherine of Aragon, but he has been smitten by the charms of the queen's maid of honor, Anne Bullen, and is tempted to divorce his dignified and noble wife. Meanwhile, the lords of England resent the influence of Henry's trusted advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, who is gradually drawing power into his own hands. As Katherine and Wolsey suffer their tragic falls, new figures rise to fill their places, but they, too, will be brought low by the inexorable sweep of time and fortune.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Shakespeare the diplomatic historian

  • By Nicholas O'Brien on 07-01-17

Shakespeare the diplomatic historian

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-01-17

Covering the fall of Wolsey and the divorce from Katherine of Aragon to the christening of Elizabeth, this shows Shakespeare carefully portraying the Tudors as thoughtful caring monarchs.

  • Titus Andronicus

  • Arkangel Shakespeare
  • By: William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by: David Troughton, Harriet Walter, Paterson Joseph, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 42 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

The noble Titus returns victorious to Rome bringing Tamora, Queen of the Goths as his captive. When one of Tamora's sons is condemned to die, she vows revenge, and, aided by the villainous Aaron, she exacts a terrible retribution, inaugurating a grim cycle of rape, murder, and cannibalism. This macabre, often brilliant tragedy comes from the earliest stage of Shakespeare's dramatic career.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A harrowing tale.

  • By Joey Dean on 08-08-17

Gruesome but compelling

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-16

A gruesome play, which shows that Tarantino is not new. The performances made it a compelling study in the power of a desire for revenge and the terrible effects that emotion produces.