cover image Richard III

Richard III

William Shakespeare, read by a full cast. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 3 CDs, 3 hrs., $19.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-8154-4

At the core of one of Shakespeare’s most recognizable plays is the self-admitted villain Richard III, the misshaped humpback, who with malice aforethought works his way up the royal family tree to become the tyrannical bloodstained King of England, only to be undone in the end by the future King Henry VII at the battle of Bosworth Field. From his opening soliloquy to his final plea for the never-to-arrive horse, Richard is a riveting character whose actions have intrigued, seduced, and repulsed audiences for centuries. Unfortunately, this audio production suffers from perfunctory performances that fail to engage the listener at an emotional level. Production values are top notch, and judiciously used sound effects enhance the scenes and settings, but the performances are a mixed bag—the words are well enunciated and the meter of the dialogue preserved, but the richness and depth of the bard’s characters is never fully realized. (Feb.)