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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)£7.99  -  £14.99

A Magnificent production for anyone interested in poetry! This set features live recordings from the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour: Eight of the greatest poets in the English language.


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.

Stamp of
Genius
Slim Chances with Additions and Afterthoughts written by Edward Petherbridge performed by Edward Petherbridge on CD (Abridged)

Slim Chances with Additions and Afterthoughts written by Edward Petherbridge performed by Edward Petherbridge on CD (Abridged)£29.99

A Genius Performance by Edward Petherbridge! In this autobiographical work Edward Petherbridge recounts his time at the National Theatre and his life as a jobbing actor. Wonderfully whitty and full of real life insights, this book will take you back to the great days of The Master (Olivier) ....


A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens performed by Simon Callow and The Brighouse and Rastrick Band on CD (Abridged)

A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens performed by Simon Callow and The Brighouse and Rastrick Band on CD (Abridged)£9.99  -  £11.99

Marking the 175 anniversary of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic ‘A Christmas Carol’, celebrated actor Simon Callow and one of the world’s most respected brass bands The Brighouse and Rastrick Band join forces for this very special Christmas album. It combines Simon Callow’s acclaimed adaptation of Charles...


Rare
Barchester Towers written by Anthony Trollope performed by Timothy West on CD (Unabridged)

Barchester Towers written by Anthony Trollope performed by Timothy West on CD (Unabridged)£89.99  -  £129.99

Barchester Towers is Anthony Trollope's comic masterpiece. Ranged either side of the unfathomable Victorian divide between the High Anglican clergy and their modern, evangelical brethren we meet the saintly Septimus Harding and the furious Archdeacon Grantly and, opposing, the fearsome ...


Stamp of
Genius
Life on Earth - The Greatest Story Ever Told written by David Attenborough performed by David Attenborough on CD (Unabridged)

Life on Earth - The Greatest Story Ever Told written by David Attenborough performed by David Attenborough on CD (Unabridged)£39.99

A new, fully updated edition of David Attenborough’s groundbreaking Life on Earth. David Attenborough’s unforgettable meeting with gorillas became an iconic moment for millions of television viewers. Life on Earth, the series and accompanying book, fundamentally changed the way we view and interact with..


Murder on the Orient Express written by Agatha Christie performed by Kenneth Branagh on CD (Unabridged)

Murder on the Orient Express written by Agatha Christie performed by Kenneth Branagh on CD (Unabridged)£9.99

Agatha Christie’s most famous murder mystery, read by director and star of the hugely anticipated 2017 film adaptation, Kenneth Branagh. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning...


Notes from a Small Island written by Bill Bryson performed by William Roberts on CD (Unabridged)

Notes from a Small Island written by Bill Bryson performed by William Roberts on CD (Unabridged)£9.99  -  £24.99

"Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain--which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad--old churches, country lanes, people saying 'Mustn't grumble' and 'I'm terribly sorry but,' people apologizing to me when I conk them with a careless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast ...


Suffer the Little Children written by Donna Leon performed by Andrew Sachs on CD (Abridged)

Suffer the Little Children written by Donna Leon performed by Andrew Sachs on CD (Abridged)£4.99

When Commissario Brunetti is summoned to the hospital bedside of a senior paediatrician whose skull has been fractured, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men, a Carabinieri captain and two privates from out of town, have burst into the doctor's apartment....


The Code of the Woosters written by P.G. Wodehouse performed by BBC Full Cast Dramatisation, Michael Hordern and Richard Briers on CD (Abridged)

The Code of the Woosters written by P.G. Wodehouse performed by BBC Full Cast Dramatisation, Michael Hordern and Richard Briers on CD (Abridged)£14.99  -  £24.99

This is a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation starring Michael Hordern as Jeeves and Richard Briers as Wooster.

Who would think that an eighteenth-century silver cow-creamer could cause so much trouble?

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!