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Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Volume I
Retold by Bruce Coville

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Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Volume I
Retold by Bruce Coville
Read by Bruce Coville, Cynthia Bishop, and the Full Cast Family
Full Cast Audio, (2003)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on 2 CDs
ISBN: 1-932076-35-2

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 17, 2004

William Shakespeare is one of the most renowned of all English writers. His plays and sonnets have edified and entertained audiences, and readers, for generations. Being familiar with Shakespeare's work, especially his plays, is an essential component of any education. His works have become such an integral component of our cultural milieu that anyone unfamiliar with his work is at a distinct disadvantage. However, any deficits in this area are easily corrected. Shakespeare's works are readily available in print and productions of his plays are regularly staged. In addition, all of his plays and sonnets have been recorded in audio format, and film versions of most of his plays have been produced.

For those seeking a first, or twenty-first introduction to the wonders of Shakespeare, I'd recommend Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Volume I. Based on Bruce Coville's renowned adaptations of the bard's work, this Full Cast Audio production includes four of Shakespeare's most respected plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, and Twelfth Night. These plays are preformed by a full cast of actors that number well over two dozen, and includes a rendition of Feste's Song, from Twelfth Night.

This Full Cast Audio production of Shakespeare's Greatest Hits is outstanding. The combination of an excellent adaptation of the plays and a marvelous cast brings the bard's words to life and imparts the thrill of actually attending a live production of one of his plays. Additionally, the selection of plays included in this collection features a cross section of Shakespeare's works. Particularly suited for introducing children to the works of Shakespeare, this audio production will delight listeners of all ages and is ideal for family listening.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy of errors. The problems begin when a magic fairy potion, which causes a sleeper to fall in love with the first person they see upon awakening, is misused.

Macbeth is a dark, gothic tale full of supernatural elements (including a wee ghosty or two) that follows Macbeth's quest for power, and its conseqeunces.

Romeo & Juliet is the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers whose familes are at war with each other.

Twelfth Night is a hilarious Elizabethan soap opera that features Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, who is in love with Cesario, who is a woman disguised as a man, who happens to be in love with Orsino!

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