Trade Ed. Naxos AudioBooks 2008
CD ISBN 9789626348864 $17.98 Two CDs
DD ISBN multiple sources
Shakespeare's sometimes-disturbing play tells the story of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender who, insisting on a "pound of flesh" to settle a debt, is instructed in "the quality of mercy." The work receives a solid but unremarkable performance here. Anthony Sher plays Shylock as choking with rage, yet gives him his tragic due. Roger Allam is a robust Antonio, and Emma Fielding makes Portia a worthy heroine. Background sounds in outdoor scenes are mildly distracting and seem out of place; when are they used onstage? Players in smaller roles are sometimes unconvincing, especially in their reactions, the bane of audio drama. Mildly humorous speeches, for example, elicit painfully false laughter. This production breaks no new ground, but the play's power does, for the most part, come through. W.M. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine [Published: JANUARY 2009]
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