Alan Bennett – Plays
This Alan Bennet audio collection features 12 full-cast BBC Radio productions of plays by one of the UK’s best-loved playwrights, including 40 Years On, A Visit from Miss Prothero, Say Something Happened, Kafka's Dick, Two in Torquay, The Madness of George III, The History Boys, An Englishman Abroad, A Question of Attribution, The Lady in the Van and Cocktail Sticks and the Last of the Sun. Across the board, the cast includes John Gielgud, Patricia Routledge, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench, Thora Hird and Alex Jennings. The History Boys is an excellent place to start.
Angels in America
This original audiobook performance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play stars the cast of the National Theatre's 2018 Broadway revival. In this production, adapted especially for the listening experience, Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, and the entire cast recreate their acclaimed performances from the 2018 Tony Award-winning revival of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. With narration by Bobby Cannavale and Edie Falco, and a musical score by Adrian Sutton, this audiobook is a compelling and immersive theatrical listening experience. A play in two parts – "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika" – Angels in America is a complex and insightful look into identity, community, justice and redemption.
Girls & Boys
From her first major role in Pride & Prejudice (2005) to her acclaimed, award-winning breakthrough performance in An Education in 2009, Carey Mulligan has proved herself to be one of the most dynamic voices of her generation. And in this one-woman play – written by Dennis Kelly and first performed by Mulligan at the Royal Court in 2018 – she really gets to show her range. An unexpected meeting at an airport leads to an intense, passionate, head-over-heels relationship. Before long they begin to settle down, buy a house, juggle careers, have kids – theirs is an ordinary family. But then their world starts to unravel and things take a disturbing turn.
Hamilton – The Revolution
From Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist and star Lin-Manuel Miranda comes a backstage pass to his ground-breaking hit musical, Hamilton. Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject: the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B and the best traditions of theatre, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap and claims the origins of the United States for a diverse new generation. Hamilton: The Revolution gives listeners an unprecedented view of both revolutions. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theatre artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages, traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. Their account features exclusive looks into notebooks and emails, interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sondheim and leading political commentators, and multiple appearances by Barack Obama.
Heralded as one the most distinguished dramatists after Shakespeare, by the early 20th century Norwegian playwright Ibsen’s A Doll's House had become the world's most performed play. This collection brings A Doll’s House together with An Enemy of the People and Hedda Gabler. A poignant study of loneliness, impotent rage and societal expectations breeding a certain kind of madness, Hedda Gabler is a good place to start. The self-titled character is a general's daughter and the play focuses on her rising feelings of anger and jealousy towards a former schoolmate, fuelled by her lack of control in her own life. When a former suitor comes back into her life, bringing with him all kinds of complication, passion and history, Hedda devises a plot to win back her power.
Les Liaisons Dangereux
From the sumptuous private drawing rooms of 18th-century Paris to the decadent estates and chateaus of the French countryside, La Marquise de Merteuil and Le Vicomte de Valmont hatch a long-distance plan of vengeance and seduction. Valmont is determined to conquer the famously pious Madame de Tourvel, whose husband is abroad on business. However, Merteuil has other plans. She enlists his involvement in the seduction of a young convent girl, Cécile Volanges, the wife-to-be of the Marquise's former lover. But as they race toward the culmination of their plans, events start to spiral out of control, and they realise that they might not be as in control of their hearts as once they thought.
Infamously known as the cursed Scottish play, Macbeth is perhaps Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. When General Macbeth is foretold by three witches that he will one day be King of Scotland, Lady Macbeth convinces him to get rid of anyone who could stand in his way. As Macbeth ascends to the throne through bloody murder, he becomes a tyrant consumed by fear and paranoia. This L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance features James Marsters as Macbeth, Joanne Whalley as Lady Macbeth, Josh Cooke as Banquo, J.D. Cullum as Macduff and Kate Steele as Lady Macduff.
My Dear Bessie
Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey read a love story in letters, played out against the backdrop of WWII. A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration. A love affair in letters between two people who barely knew each other, thousands of miles apart, in the middle of a war, with no idea when or whether they would ever see each other again. On September 5th, 1943, Chris Barker, a signalman stationed near Tobruk in North Africa, decided to write to a former work colleague, Bessie Moore, a Morse code interpreter at the Foreign Office back in London. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever. Chris and Bessie's love letters first appeared in Simon Garfield's book To the Letter, before they toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie. A lovely listen.
The Chekov Plays
Despite his early death from tuberculosis, Anton Chekhov was a prolific writer and produced more than 250 short stories in addition to several novellas and a novel. A celebrated playwright, Chekhov is often recognised as an influential figure of early modernism of the theatre in addition to being held in high esteem by the likes of George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf, although much praise was not as forthcoming until after his death in 1904. This collection features three of his best-known plays: dark comedy The Seagull is the first of what are considered his 'major plays'; Three Sisters tells the story of a trio of sisters lonely after their father die;s and The Cherry Orchard has a dual comedy and tragedy narrative. A great introduction.
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition is performed by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties – and of his undying love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy’s life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters’ fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic tale.
The Noël Coward Collection
This collection brings together six sophisticated Noël Coward comedies. Fallen Angels focuses on Julia and Fred, and Willy and Jane, who are happily married and the best of friends, until a postcard arrives with news of the imminent arrival of a certain handsome Frenchman. Hay Fever tells the tale of a country house weekend that goes haywire when the guests and their hosts play a game of romantic musical chairs. In Private Lives, the lights of a yacht on the French Riviera are reflected in the water and in the eyes of four hilariously mismatched lovers. Perhaps Coward’s greatest comedy, Private Lives shimmers with romance, desire and bittersweet truth. In Design For Living, three stylish friends attempt to uncoil their twisted love triangle in this sexy and scandalous gem. Present Laughter sees stage star Garry Essendine struggle to plan his trip to Africa while his flat is invaded by a love struck ingénue, an adulterous producer, a married seductress, Garry’s estranged wife Liz and an aspiring playwright who is quite, quite mad. And in Blithe Spirit, a convivial evening party among friends is transformed when a séance conjures the ghost of Elvira, the host’s first wife, who delights in wreaking havoc among the living.
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