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Catching Life by the Throat written by Josephine Hart performed by Famous British Actors on CD (Abridged)

Catching Life by the Throat written by Josephine Hart performed by Famous British Actors on CD (Abridged)£4.99  -  £14.99

This audiobook is an anthology of poems by WH Auden, TS Eliot, Philip Larkin, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Rudyard Kipling, Sylvia Plath and W B Yeats, introduced by Josephine Hart and read by a cast of famous actors: Ralph Fiennes, Edward Fox, Ian McDiarmid, Helen McCrory, Sir Roger Moore, Harold Pinter, Elizabeth McGovern...


John Betjeman - A First Class Collection written by John Betjeman performed by John Betjeman on CD (Abridged)

John Betjeman - A First Class Collection written by John Betjeman performed by John Betjeman on CD (Abridged)£14.99  -  £19.99

Sir John Betjeman's unique relationship with the BBC left a lasting legacy of poetry, readings and performances. "A First Class Collection" features a selection of some of his most memorable and best-loved poetry.

The Inspector McLevy Mysteries - For Unto Us and The Trophy Club written by David Ashton performed by BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation, Brian Cox, Siobhan Redmond and Michael Perceval-Maxwell on CD (Abridged)

The Inspector McLevy Mysteries - For Unto Us and The Trophy Club written by David Ashton performed by BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation, Brian Cox, Siobhan Redmond and Michael Perceval-Maxwell on CD (Abridged)£4.99

Inspired by the real-life memoirs of a Victorian Inspector in Scotland, James McLevy prowls the dark streets of 1860s Edinburgh bringing criminals to justice, with the assistance of Constable Mulholland.


Dr No written by Ian Fleming performed by Hugh Quarshie on CD (Unabridged)

Dr No written by Ian Fleming performed by Hugh Quarshie on CD (Unabridged)£4.99  -  £9.99

Dr Julius No is a man with a mysterious past. Nobody knows what secrets are hidden on his Caribbean island, and all those who have attempted to investigate further have disappeared.


Stamp of
Genius
Single Spies written by Alan Bennett performed by Simon Callow, Brigit Forsyth, Edward Petherbridge and Prunella Scales on CD (Unabridged)

Single Spies written by Alan Bennett performed by Simon Callow, Brigit Forsyth, Edward Petherbridge and Prunella Scales on CD (Unabridged)£14.99  -  £19.99

A Genius Performance by Simon Callow, Edward Petherbridge and Prunella Scales! These wonderful BBC Radio 4 productions are of exceptional quality. Includes 2 plays - An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution. Brilliant work by all of the actors!


1st Class Postage Charge for Sub 1kg Orders

1st Class Postage Charge for Sub 1kg Orders£4.45

This is the fixed price 1st Class Postage Charge to be used when sub 1kg orders are processed.


A Dark-Adapted Eye written by Ruth Rendell as Barbara Vine performed by Harriet Walter on Audio CD (Unabridged)

A Dark-Adapted Eye written by Ruth Rendell as Barbara Vine performed by Harriet Walter on Audio CD (Unabridged)£24.99

"A rich, complex and beautifully crafted novel."  P. D. James "Compulsively readable a carefully devised plot unfolded with the most cunning art. Wilkie Collins and Dickens would have admired it." Sunday Times Like most families they had their secrets and they hid them under a genteelly respectable veneer. No onlooker would guess that prim Vera Hillyard and her beautiful, adored younger sister, Eden, were locked in a dark...


A Guilty Thing Surprised written by Ruth Rendell performed by George Baker on Audio CD (Abridged)

A Guilty Thing Surprised written by Ruth Rendell performed by George Baker on Audio CD (Abridged)£9.99  -  £12.99

By the writer of the Wexford novels and read by George Baker

Someone must have had good reason to murder Mrs Elizabeth Nightingale on a dark September night. And as Detective Chief Inspector Wexford investigates, he discovers sinister undercurrents and dramatic secrets beneath the placid surface of the Nightingales' lives…


A History of the World in 100 Objects written by Neil MacGregor performed by Neil MacGregor on CD (Unabridged)

A History of the World in 100 Objects written by Neil MacGregor performed by Neil MacGregor on CD (Unabridged)£19.99  -  £39.99

In 2010, the BBC and the British Museum embarked on an ambitious project: to tell the story of two million years of human history using one hundred objects selected from the Museum’s vast and renowned collection. Presented by the British Museum’s Director Neil MacGregor....

William Shakespeare

 

His Poetry and Plays cont.

 

We have continued to try to assess the worth of another set of performances. Some of our opinions may surprise you but hopefully they will encourage you to take the plunge and take the opportunity to listen to this great works performed by some of the greatest of acting talent.

 

Julius Ceasar

Coriolanus

Love's Labours Lost

Anthony and Cleopatra

The Winter's Tale 

Twelfth Night

 

Let's be clear, all of the performances you will find for sale on Brainfood Audiobooks will be competent. We have to say we have, over the years, consigned to the Charity Shop box all of the performances that appear to have been made with little passion to recommend them. What we have left is the greatest performances that have ever been made, and recorded/sold, of the dramatic works of William Shakespeare.

The muse of fire lives in these works and has inspired some of the greatest thespians ever to have walked the stage to perhaps their greatest heights.

In this, the final part of this review, we will look at a number of plays that, for whatever reason have never appealed to us quite as much as their predecessors in this series. Some of these works are considered by most as absolutely essential by most commentators. This exercise has been somewhat of a revelation. Not withstanding, all of these performances must be considered essential to anyone who loves Shakespeare and enjoys performances in their audio format. The key element we will continue to consider is the passionate beauty of the performances. 

 

Julius Ceasar

 

 

The productions of Julius Ceasar the key dramatic elements come in the initial murder scene and in the scene where Mark Antony's speech incites the population of Rome. There is only one clear option for this play. Ralph Richardson's excellent performance, as Caesar, is supported brilliantly by Anthony Quayle, as Brutus and Alan Bates as Mark Anthony and John Mills as Cassius. We do have a total of 4 different performances in stock but this one stands out as an example of excellence. 

 

Coriolanus

 

 

Coriolanus is another vehicle for Shakespeare's analysis of political leadership. This play has perhaps never been so relevant during the Brexit negotiations. The political air of the country has never been so thick. With regard to the best recording we stock there is Richard Burton's. In fact the stellar cast of this production all show their talent to good effect. This cast includes the aforementioned Richard Burton, Michael Hordern, Jessica Tandy and Robert Stephens. The other players, predominantly of Welsh origin, support these players beautifully. This production has such a fire burning inside it that it overflows in the great tradition of the Bard's muse.

 

Love's Labours Lost

 

 

Love's Labour's Lost is a comedy that, the case of our selection for Muse of Fire, will entertain and, with the music of the performance, will fascinate.  This production is a great example of rareness not being indicative of greatness. The production by Diana Rigg and Prunella Scales is exceptionally rare but lacks the melody and fire of the one we have chosen. Rather surprisingly Derek Jacobi's name is not on the cover of this item but his young talent shines through wonderfully. In the initial scene with Jeremy Brett the tone is set perfectly. When Geraldine McEwan, Ian Richardson with biting whit and a lovely twist at the end this production does everything a work of Muse of Fire should.

 

Anthony and Cleopatra

 

 

 

Anthony and Cleopatra sees us return to the political works. Though Vivien Leigh's performance is a wonderful thing, it is hard to recommend it too highly as the abridgement is very heavy, cutting around 2 hours from the play. Regarding the other performances on offer we think it only fair to mention that Anthony Quayle's performance is not up to his brilliant work of Julius Ceasar. The production we have chosen is full of talent and holds the pace and drive of the text better than any of the others. Richard Johnson, Irene Worth, Robert Eddison and Ian Holm make the play entertain and fascinate in equal measure. Irene Worth's performance in this play is the very best recording we have heard of her.  

 

The Winter's Tale

 

 

Of the productions of The Winter's Tale the choice is clear between the early Gielgud and the later. This complex tale, which doesn't fit well into the standard classifications, gives the actor an opportunity a Lear-like opportunity to show their talent. In the production we have chosen Gielgud's performance, as Leontes, shows him near the height of his powers. Dame Peggy Ashcroft's performance is wonderfully paced with great control. Together with these excellent performances comes one of Robert Hardy's best Shakespeare performances and Alan Bates is also a brilliant supporting player. The Arkangel production, we have it on CD, does not burn quite so hot but shows Gielgud, as Time and the Chorus, giving his special touch.  

 

Twelfth Night

 

 

Finally we come to the height of Shakespeare's comedy. This is one of the most popular plays but, as an out and out comedy, it becomes more of a challenge to find the Muse of Fire. We have a wide range of performances in stock. Rather like the Winter's Tale production's we have a choice between older and newer productions. We at Brainfood Audiobooks have a deep admiration for two of the productions. The "best" production just brims over with talent. Almost any production with Siobhan McKenna, Paul Scofield, Robert Hardy, Venessa Redgrave is duty bound to be extraordinary. In this case it is extraordinarily humorous! Again the pacing of these players gives a faultless touch to the comic timing and entertains the listener in a manner difficult to fault. There is another praiseworthy production in stock. Stella Gonet's work with Gerard Murphy is wonderfully light. Again the comic timing is excellent and we have no doubt that this production will be come a regular listen in what for us has been a sadly under appreciated work of the Bard.

This brings to a conclusion our treatment of the current stock of the recordings of Shakespeare's plays that we have to offer. In the future we may well add and amend these pages as new recordings are published and we do have plans to review the audio productions of Shakespeare's poetry. 

We do hope you have enjoyed these reviews and we would like to give an enormous Thank You! to all of our wonderful Customers who have sent feedback, both on the productions themselves and on this piece of work.

Hopefully it has fired many of you to delve into these wonderful works with renewed vigour.

 

End of Muse of Fire 3

 

All Shakespeare Performances We Have to Offer

 

Non-Fiction on Audio CD Non-Fiction on Cassette 
Peter Ackroyd Shakespeare Biography


Almost all, except for the brilliant Stratford's Shakespeare, of the Non-Fiction recordings available have been published in the last 20 years and so are easily available on Audio CD.

 
 
Poetry on Cassette Plays on Cassette Poetry on Audio CD Plays on Audio CD
Shakespeare Poetry on Cassette Shakespeare Drama on Cassette Shakespeare Poetry on Audio CD Shakspeare Drama on Audio CD

 

Shakespeare Poetry and Plays

The same can not be said of the poetry and plays. Many of these recordings are over 50 years old and are found mainly on Cassette. So the first major decision required when looking at the works of the Bard is -

Is it worth digging out the cassette player? 

The answer is an undoubted YES!

One of our core principles is to offer an opportunity to find old recordings of works, which in many cases never made it to CD. So the next question is -

Are the recordings of some of the best Actors and Actresses of the 50's, 60's and 70's still worth listening to?

If you haven't heard these recordings then you haven't heard the recordings that inspired the current crop of actors who perform these works.If you haven't heard these recordings then the beautiful tones and wonderful audio flexibility developed by these actors over many years of work in Rep, something that has all but died out in the last 20 years, still awaits you.

Just a few of the many names to look for are - Lawrence Olivier, Robert Stephens, Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Paul Scofield, Vivien Leigh and Richard Burton

So, with your CD or cassette player at hand, it is time to choose from the marvelous selection we have to offer.

Wherever you look, you have a treat in store!