Copenhagen

  • by Michael Frayn
  • Narrated by Simon Russell Beale
  • 1 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Benedict Cumberbatch, Greta Scacchi and Simon Russell Beale star in Michael Frayn's award-winning play about the controversial 1941 meeting between physicists Bohr and Heisenberg. Copenhagen, Autumn 1941.
The two presiding geniuses of quantum physics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg meet for the first time since the breakout of war. Danish physicist Bohr and his wife, Margrethe, live in Nazi-occupied Denmark; their visitor, Heisenberg, is German, the two old friends, now on opposing sides have between them the ability to change the course of history.
Frayn's Tony award-winning play imagines the three characters re-drafting the events of 1941 in an attempt to make sense of them. With Greta Scacchi as Margrethe Bohr, Simon Russell Beale as Niels Bohr and Benedict Cumberbatch as Werner Heisenberg. This new version of Copenhagen is adapted for radio and directed by Emma Harding.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Performance lacks emotion

Copenhagen is an extreemly difficult play to do. not just because of its dense subject, but because it doesn't follow a narrative structure. There are none of the conventional markers that can signal to an actor when the critical passages and emotional beats are. That is what makes each adaptation interesting, as each actor will play their historical character with slightly different emphasis on different passages.

Unfortunatelly, none of the actors seem to be doing this hear. We know Cumberbatch can play the tortured genius extreemly well, but his enjoyability as an actor comes from his ability to give cerebral characters emotional depth. But here, his performance (along with the other actors) is uniformly at 50%.

If you read the play with a careful understanding of the history behind the events it is disecting, you will see that Frayn has strategically inserted moments of levity and moments of shock to punctuate what would otherwise be historical narration, which gives the play it's emotional core. There are times here when the characters should be laughing with eachother, and times when they should be almost at eachother's throats. But nothing of that emotional level occurs in this performance.

This is even more tragic, as this is the type of play that requires multuple listenings to follos, and an emotionally flat performance is the least enjoyably to listen to over and over. I would not recommend this version of this play.
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- Max Fagin

Acting was great, but I didn't love the play

I never quite understood the practice of reviewing a play immediately after finishing it; I think I need some more time to ruminate on this one. I didn't love the play, but it was still solid. The acting is phenomenal, though, particularly in the part of Mr. Cumberbatch. Very engaging, well motivated, and clear. It helped bring the play to life!
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- Allie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-01-2013
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited