August/September 2019

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August/September 2019 n 29 ANGELS IN AMERICA: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes Tony Kushner Read by Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Susan Brown, Denise Gough, and a Full Cast Intimate, surreal, and devastatingly hon- est. Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield lead a superb Broadway cast in this audiobook revival of Tony Kushner's 1991 award-winning examina- tion of the 1980s AIDS crisis in America. It is easy to forget how shaken and frightened the country, especially the gay community, was in the shadow of an unknown and lethal disease. This play brings it all back. The reading of unnecessary stage directions is a distraction and slows the pace of this otherwise consummate production. Nonetheless, the script and performances that follow the tribulations of a gay couple (one in the closet, with a Mormon wife); a dying, in-denial political operative; and a former drag queen/nurse with a heart of gold are all top-notch. B.P. Random House Audio 6.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9780593153949 $35.00 (also DD) Books on Tape Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780593153949 $35.00 (also DD) WHAT MAISIE KNEW Henry James Read by Juliet Stevenson Juliet Stevenson provides a compelling narration of Henry James's story about innocence, social class, and moral- ity. The protagonist, Maisie, struggles to preserve her innocence when her parents divorce and her stepparents commit adultery. Seemingly effortlessly, Stevenson changes her voice to match her characters' traits: Maisie's innocent demeanor, her stepfather Sir Claude's confident poise, her stepmother Ms. Overmore's patronizing personality, her nanny Mrs. Wix's didactic disposition, and her parents Ida and Beale's narcissistic attitudes. Stevenson's pace is slow and steady—in harmony with every moment. However, even with her elegant English accent, her performance is challenged by the author's long sentences. Overall, though, Stevenson's pleasant narration makes James's complex and long-winded novel an auditory treat. A.C. Naxos AudioBooks 11.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9781781982068 $29.99 RIGHT HO, JEEVES: Jeeves, Book 6 P.G. Wodehouse Read by Simon Jones Narrator Simon Jones breathes life into the character of English gentleman Bertie Wooster as he tries to assist in three different love affairs—with disas- trous yet comic consequences. Jones shines in conveying the supercilious- ness of Wooster; the levelheadedness of his valet, Jeeves; and the crazy antics of the lovelorn. A comedy of errors ensues that only worsens as Wooster tries to play matchmaker, a situation that Jones plays to great effect. He particularly makes the listener laugh in the scene where the teetotaler Gussie Fink-Nottle gets drunk before speaking at a school awards ceremony and says all manner of inappropriate things. Jones then wraps things up as Jeeves steps in at the end of the book to save the day and fix the muddle created by Wooster. V.M.G. Alison Larkin Presents 8.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD $19.95 THE SOCRATIC DIALOGUES: MIDDLE PERIOD VOLUME 1: Symposium, Theaetetus, Phaedo Plato, Benjamin Jowett [Trans.] Read by David Rintoul, Hugh Ross, and a Full Cast These three works of Plato are given a splendid narration by David Rintoul, as the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, and by Hugh Ross and an ensemble cast, who each portray a different secondary character. Symposium is a discourse by several individuals on the nature of love; Theaetetus concerns the nature of knowledge; Phaedo discusses the soul and is a dialogue that takes place before Socrates swallows the hemlock that kills him. Each of these British narrators does a splendid job. Their voices and enunci- ation are clear, and their pacing easy to follow. Each is appropriately expressive and consistent throughout. M.T.F. Ukemi Productions 8.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD $21.63 SAKINA'S RESTAURANT Aasif Mandvi Read by Aasif Mandvi Full of easy humor and a wide-eyed sense of discovery, writer/comedian Aasif Mandvi reprises his 1998 Obie Award- winning one-man play about a young man who leaves his village in India to work in a Manhattan restaurant. He stays with the restaurant owner's fam- ily, and each member of the family has their own story to tell. Mandvi effortlessly hops from the individual voice and attitude of the father, who constantly wor- ries about, well, everything, to the mother, who longs for home thousands of miles away; the little brother, whom the fam- ily ignores; and the teenaged daughter, Sakina, who is firmly caught between two cultures and dreams of singing in a rock band. Bright, insightful and heart- felt, Mandvi's narration presents the contemporary immigrant experience as something it has always been—personal. A marvelous performance. B.P. Audible, Inc. 1.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD $6.95 Drama & Classics Intimate, surreal, and devastatingly honest.

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