King Richard III

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, Geraldine McEwan, Nicholas Farrell, Stella Gonet, Michael Maloney
  • 3 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.
Richard III is a self-motivating character who defies determinism (a life preordained by God) and sets his life on a course chosen by his own will and desire, as he puns in the opening soliloquy: "I am determined to be a villain. Determined by birth and God, and determined in the other sense, by his own will."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not the best Richard III

Trust me... this is not the Richard III you want. The one you want is the Caedmon version (also on Audible). It's older and the recording itself is not as good, but the performances are dead-on and amazing.

Kenneth Branagh (a guy who is an amazing actor, don't get me wrong) delivers a flat-line Richard. Richard is no fun in this version. He takes no evil pleasure in his manipulations... it's almost like he's just going through the motions. Several of the scenes are just plain lifeless! Sure, the production value is good and the actors are quality, but you won't find magic here.

In the Caedmon version, Robert Stephens plays Richard III, and from the first scene, he charms you into playing along with his "inductions dangerous." And the rest of the characters are so much more full than in the Branagh version. Clarence is truly sympathetic in the Caedmon version (here, he's just pathetic). Queen Margaret is truly engaging, where her thirst for revenge has almost turned her into one of Macbeth's weird sisters. I'm not sure who plays Queen Elizabeth, but when she delivers the line "My reasons are too deep and dead," it's harrowing.

Kenny will serve you in other plays, but leave this one and look for Bobby. The Caedmon recording quality will annoy you on occassion, but I promise you, the acting will more than make up for it.
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- Robert Cathcart

Another NAXOS masterpiece!

The NAXOS productions of Shakespeare's plays are ALL very well done. There is never a hint of overacting, and the lines are always read in a way that makes the language seem natural and the emotions genuine.

This should not be regarded as a Branaugh play so much as a NAXOS play. He is not the only amazing actor in this cast. Geraldine McEwan steals many scenes as the rotten old deposed Queen Margaret. This is no small feat, considering the one-dimensionality of Margaret's character. John Shrapnel is also fantastic in the role of Lord Hastings, as is Nicholas Farrell in the role of Buckingham, and Barrie Jaimeson is always fun to listen to, no mater which role he's reading.

I absolutely love this production of this play. I own this version as well as the Caedmon production, and the contrast is just remarkable. The NAXOS characters seem so alive and natural in contrast to the Caedmon cast, which seems quite artificial and grandiose. Shakespeare wrote plays about humans, and he intended these plays to be enjoyed by all people, not just the nobles and the snobs. NAXOS has certainly succeeded in that mission.
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- Donald

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-25-2001
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks