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The Audio Play: ok, but not the best treatment of The Hobbit
on 25 October 2012
AMAZON TAKE NOTE: Because this version is so different from the book I think Amazon are wrong to lump all the reviews together and treat them as a single product. This will confuse buyers and create inaccurate ratings.
This version of The Hobbit is an audio play first broadcast by the BBC in 1968 (it is NOT an audiobook - ie someone reading the full book version out aloud). It features a whittled down version of the book in play form, with a narrator and audio actors coming together to tell the story.
For keen collectors of Tolkien, this would no doubt be a valued item. Though it was before my time, it is apparently considered a classic of sorts, and is bound to inspire nostalgia for those old enough to have heard it the first time round. The story moves along quickly (much quicker than the book) so you never get bored, although of course, far less detail can be shared in this format. It's very much of the old-fashioned BBC era - so the langauge used is quite amusing and dry in parts.
Many of the scenes had a lot of shrill background noise - for example, when the dwarves are all talking in the background, or groups of elves or goblins were around. Although this was likely done to add atmosphere, it actually makes it hard to understand what the lead characters are saying at times. Sound levels could have been adjusted better so that this wasn't a problem. I was listening via a laptop - so it's possible that better speakers would have reduced this.
Good for Tolkien collectors but if you're looking for an introduction to The Hobbit - read the book. It's much better and this version just doesn't do what is a brilliant story the full justice it deserves.