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Publishers Weekly, 2012-08-27 Shakespeare's tragedy about the ill-fated thane of Cawdor is brought to life via this one-man interpretation from Alan Cumming. Motivated by his scheming wife, Macbeth lusts for and then takes power, which leads to regicide and his own undoing. Building upon his performance in the audio edition of A.J. Hartley and David Hewson's Macbeth: A Novel, Cumming executes a captivating solo performance of this classic play. With an authentic Scottish accent, Cumming ably embodies Lord Macbeth. He shifts from character to character seamlessly, capturing the tone, attitude, and emphasis of each, while providing an increasing intensity that conveys the reprehensible, irreparable nature of the title character's actions. In addition to embracing the various characters, Cumming's powerful performance even elevates the play's stage directions, which-rather than feeling like crude interruptions to the dialogue-slip in smoothly like the knife used to slay King Duncan. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2012-01-30 Audio productions of Shakespeare's work can be a challenge to execute, but L.A. Theatre Works delivers a gripping full-cast dramatization that keeps listeners engaged from start to finish. When Macbeth is told he will one day become king of Scotland, Lady Macbeth hatches an evil plot that ends in bloody regicide and tragedy. James Marsters delivers an admirable performance as Macbeth, conveying the character's conflicting emotions and subsequent arrogance. Equally skilled is Joanne Whalley, whose Lady Macbeth transforms from a determined and opportunistic woman in the beginning of the play to a depressed and despairing one in the final act. Recorded in front of a live audience, this well-produced audio also features music and sound effects-all of which make for an absolutely entertaining listening experience. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 1993-03-01 Based on an HBO animated series, these condensations emphasize the dramatic content of some of Shakespeare's best known works. As abridged by Garfield in consultation with a panel of scholars, the books on the whole retain the magic of Shakespeare's vision and remain true to his poetics. Linguistic fluidity is perforce sacrificed (omitted lines are presented as italicized summaries interspersed throughout the dialogue), but these versions should still fire children's imaginations. Though the artwork varies in quality, the Eastern European illustrators generally capture the underlying theatrics. Palettes are subdued for the dramas, and appropriately brighter for the comedies (though the tone reproductions frequently seem off). Several plays' illustrations have a cartoony appearance; a few exhibit the stilted look of old Classics Comics. While the plays forgo their complexities--many subplots are omitted--as they become more linear in their themes (Macbeth loses much of his humanity, Romeo and Juliet is pared of its politics), their nobility shines through in these visualized introductions. One hopes that readers will be encouraged to move on to the originals. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
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