Reviews for Complete Shakespeare Sonnets

AudioFile Reviews 2000 April/May
Rich in melody and wordplay, Shakespeare's sonnets are, of all his work, the best-suited to audio production--while also the most demanding in vocal delivery and interpretation. Woven through the sonnets, though in no organized or consecutive manner, is the most amazing personal story, a love triangle that's funny, shocking and weird--baring, or seeming to, the author's most intimate secrets. Right now some very good audio versions of the sonnets are available. Most impressive is the just-released two-CD COMPLETE SHAKESPEARE SONNETS from Airplay, produced by Charline Spektor and Kathleen Turner, featuring 21 celebrity readers, including Turner, Natasha Richardson, Claire Bloom, Patrick Stewart, and Al Pacino, with a booklet that reprints all 154 poems. I could listen to Kathleen Turner forever, and Richardson, Bloom, Alfred Molina, and a half-dozen others are outstanding. But an ensemble this large and this well known is bound to have unevenness and disparities. Pacino, for example, delivers the kind of loud misreading that throws a whole production off balance. This set certainly captures the range and diversity of the sonnets. Missing, however, is any consistency or dramatic logic, or degree of interplay and continuity. D.W. ¬ AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine.Copyright 2000 AudioFile Reviews