by William Shakespeare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Many years ago, I attempted to read Richard III
, and never got very far. I largely blame my unfamiliarity at the time with English history, but I also have to admit that it really helps to hear this play performed.
Shakespeare's Richard is one of the great anti-heroes of English literature, and it's very enjoyable to watch him in action and marvel at everything he gets away with. (And to see him get his comeuppance, although I personally find that Richard's actual downfall drags a bit in comparison to the rest of the play.) The play also revels in its use of language - there are a number of scenes that I've gone back and played again just to enjoy the words. There's lots of back-and-forth banter, as well as humor in unexpected places. (The conversation between the two men sent to murder Clarence in the tower is quite funny.)
The play adapts well to an audio-only presentation: there's one particular scene where Queen Margaret makes an unexpected entrance that is a bit confusing on audio, but in general, the action is so well-explained by the conversations (and in fact, in most cases, the action is the conversation) that following is not a problem. (I have seen audio versions of Shakespeare plays that include narration to fill in gaps in the action. I considered trying one of those, but it just seemed weird.) View all my reviews >>