My first recollection of encountering this classic maritime adventure, written by Jerome K Jerome, was in the 70s when I attended a one-man show in which Jeremy Nicholas recounted the story of three men and a dog and their trip up the River Thames. In true tradition the tale was recited, not without error, to a large audience in a comedic style that reminded me of PG Wodehouse, another of my literary heroes.
Jeremy Nicholas's career has been based almost entirely on this one author and he went on to become the President of the Jerome K Jerome Society. I never forgot that performance and it gave me a taste for Jerome K Jerome and his stories.
It was not until three decades later that I encountered this unabridged rendition of this classic story by Martin Jarvis whose name will be instantly familiar to listeners of the 'Just William' and 'Jeeves and Wooster' audiobooks. Martin's comic delivery, animated style and energetic story-telling ability is strongly reminiscent of that of Jeremy Nicholas and for this reason I can heartily recommend this recording.
This recording is, of course, the unabridged version which I much prefer. However, to tell this tale requires 6 CDs and over six-and-a-half hours of listening time. It may be long but it is never boring. It is a complex and steadily evolving adventure story about a boat trip up part of the River Thames. For the most part it is full of humour but it does have its darker moments.
The recording is supplied with a small, 12-page booklet that describes the content of each of the six CDs and also contains a mini biography of Jerome K Jerome and how he came to write Three Men in a Boat.