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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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful