BBC Radio Shakespeare

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Warren Mitchell, Martin Jarvis, Samuel West, Full Cast
  • 2 hrs and 1 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard. Love, bigotry, greed, and justice are entwined in this clear, fast-moving production, where the precision of radio gives added resonance to the powerful words of the trial scene. Revitalised, original, and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good for Shakespeare Fans

Clocking in at just over two hours, this BBC radio production of The Merchant of Venice flies by at a serious clip. On the plus side, there isn't much dead air, but on the minus, it takes away some of the drama by keeping the voice actors from incorporating pauses. The voice acting is mostly good, especially the actress voicing Portia, but it gets difficult to tell many of the characters apart. Unfortunately, the most memorable voices are also the most ludicrous and cartoonish. On the whole, however, the actors do their best under their constraints, and some very good work does shine through.

Listeners should be familiar with the play before listening to this, as it would be nearly impossible to follow without knowing what would be happening on stage. For fans of Shakespeare and this play in particular, this audio is a nice addition to your library, but it is no replacement for an actual performance.

Of course, the big question is how this performance treats Shylock, and it's a decent middle ground. Shylock isn't portrayed as a pure villain, but he also isn't portrayed as wholly sympathetic either. His exit is handled a little sloppily, giving the final act the play's trademark uncomfortableness, but it's certainly not the worst handling of Shylock out there.
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- E. Magill

Who am I to review Shakespeare?

Dramatized, and not bad. Not my favorite Shakespeare, but not bad.
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- Douglas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-04-2005
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited