Book pak CBC Radio 2001
CS ISBN 0660179717 $12.95 One cassettes
[Editor's Note: The following is a combined review with MY SHAKESPEARE.]--These two recordings, made during the inaugural Bank of Montreal Stratford Festival, were taped before an audience in Toronto and broadcast on CBC Radio. BLAKE is a monologue based on the life of the English poet and engraver. Douglas Campbell sounds like one might imagine Blake himself did, with his ominous narration interrupted by rasping coughs. Much of the narrative is an apologia, in which the poet derides the public for failing to appreciate his work. Between the scenes, Campbell works in several of the best-known poems from Blake's SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND OF EXPERIENCE. He keeps the listener rapt throughout, though the inexplicable laughter of the audience in some places suggests that something is lost by not witnessing the stage performance. The idea behind MY SHAKESPEARE is rather clever: Four actors alternate in their portrayal of dozens of historical figures, each of whom shares his or her candid views on the Bard. George Bernard Shaw, Voltaire, Virginia Woolf, a reviewer from THE INDEPENDENT--each takes a minute or two to praise, insult, or mock Shakespeare and his work. It's a performance that demands a variety of accents and the ability to switch characters quickly, and the actors are up to it. However, the novelty soon wears off, and the lack of any narrative thread makes the performance drag, even at just 90 minutes. D.B. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine [Published: JUN/JUL 02]
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