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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Unabridged, 2 hr. 7 min.
Naxos Audiobooks
Full Cast feat. Sir Ian McKellan (Narrator)
November 2004
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Genre: Classic

Source: Downloaded audio from my local library
“Sir Ian McKellen, fresh from his performance as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings is Prospero, and heads a strong cast in Shakespeare’s last great play. The wronged duke raises a tempest to shipwreck his old opponents on his island so that he can ensure justice is done. With Emilia Fox as Miranda, Scott Handy in the pivotal role of the sprite Ariel and Ben Owukwe as Caliban, this new production directed by John Tydeman, balances the magic and the earthiness with music playing a key role.”
First I’m going to point out that I seem to enjoy Shakespeare’s tragedies the best – I don’t know, I feel like they are written better and more engaging to the audience. To follow that up, I didn’t LOVE The Tempest - this is one of his comedies with somewhat of a romance angle. I didn’t really feel like too much happened – a lot of it is Prospero being introspective or speaking with his crony Ariel. I have not seen a stage production of this play and I don’t know that I really want to after reading and listening to this one.


This was an okay audio production. Sir Ian McKellan was wonderful – as would be expected from him. His voice was booming and perfect for the role of Prospero. It should be noted that there were sound effects used in this production – a lot of thundering and storming during the tempest. These effects made it very difficult to hear what was being said much of the time. Because of these sound effects, which were very overpowering, I became lost and confused as to what was going on in the story. I had to re-read the play to know precisely what happened. It was also very difficult to tell most of the male characters apart from one another which made it difficult to follow as well. I think I would have preferred this better not on audio book or maybe a different production.

You can check out a sample of the audio production below:

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My reviews of other books by this author:

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I really adore The Tempest--I actually don't love all Shakespeare's work, but the language in this piece sucks me in.

  2. Audio Shakespeare is a good idea; although maybe not an actually play? Thanks for the great idea and review :)

  3. Rowenna - I just didn't find this one all that interesting. I love Macbeth, Othello, A Midsummer Nights Dream - this one just fell sort of flat for me.

    Jenny - I previously listened to Hamlet as this sort of audio book and it was done very well - this one just...wasn't.


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