32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2004
Before the Radio 4 broadcast on August Bank Holiday 2004 I had never heard or read The Odyssey. This rendition was truly compelling: a perfect combination of words, music, sound effects and a wonderful cast made buying this CD a no-brainer. Shut your eyes (but not if you're driving!) and the pictures are wonderful too. I will be listening to this again and again.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2005
The other reviewer of this audio CD is right -- this is magnificent. Tim McInerney is superb as Odysseus -- he sounds extraordinarily heroic, which could have been a problem for the actor, given the risk of being typecast in 'Blackadder' or 'Notting Hill-type roles.
But what has opened my eyes -- or, I suppose, my ears -- is the literature of Homer. This stuff was written around 800 BC, i.e. more than 2,000 years before Shakespeare. Not being familiar with Homer's structure, I was worried that the adaptation starting on Calypso's island would mean that all the earlier adventures -- e.g. the Cyclops and Circe -- had been cut by the BBC. But then Odysseus is met by Nausicaa and has to tell the tale of his adventures at supper that night. This flashback mode enables the full drama to be awakened. Out of curiosity, I browsed through a cheap translation of Homer to see how the story was actually structured. I was amazed to see that Homer himself had used the flashback device. There is the odd little glitch in that Odysseus is somehow able to report the conversations of his shipmates made while he was asleep, but we'll forgive literature that is 2,800 years old the occasional gaff.
There is some low-level earthy language, usually concerned with bodily functions, but this is a CD you can safely play to your children say, on a long car journey. It's probably best savoured in 40-minute chunks, as even the greatest books can become wearing if you try to digest one totally in a single sitting.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
BBC Dramatisations are funny things - they are often well produced, but the subject matter is either modern controversy-for-controversy's sake or an overwrought historical piece. Rarely do you get something that is skillfully acted, with a good story and that is a notable classic.
Happily, this Audio CD is all three, with the excellent Tim McInnerny (Captain Darling in Blackadder) as Odysseus, Amanda Redman as his long-suffering wife and many other well portrayed characters aside. The narrative flows well and creates convincing audio-landscapes which only go to prove that scenery is always better in your head!
My one criticism (to echo the 4 star reviewer 'Reeves') is the accuracy of the narrative. To make for an interesting story, the characters have been altered from what they should be, and the text itself (being a dramatisation) is not the same as the book. However, the story is fairly close to Homer's original intention, even if some of the narrative and personalities of the actors are a little different.
To conclude, this dramatisation is fantastic if you want to get a good impression of a classic story of the ancients. It is clearly no substitute for reading the real thing but, sometimes, things such as these can make subjects accessible to study, when previously they felt like swimming in treacle! I certainly have found this audio CD helped me appreciate a story that I would not have fathomed in other ways.
So, if you want some good listening for the car, then look no further than this book...
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2005
Odysseus left home with only the intention of helping the thrash Troy, then return victorious and glorious. But for 20 years he got caught up in the wrath of the gods, the malice of monsters and all the inclement weather the Med could muster. His sailors were ungrateful and disloyal and squandered all the good luck and help they received along the way. Without the help of Athena, brave Odysseus would have perished. It's a fantastic (in every sense) story and very enjoyable. Anyone who believes the 'classics' are dry old heirlooms, boring and incomprehensible, fit only to gather dust in stuffy old libraries, occasionally to be pawed over by equally dry and stuffy old scholars (or used to torment GCSE students), should listen to this excellent dramatisation and change their minds. Translated into modern English and performed by first-rate actors, it's as exciting as any modern adventure story and as moving as any modern romance. I thank the previous two reviewers whose enthusiastic reviews persuaded my to click the "add to shopping basket" button.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2010
A different ear must be used when listening to this dramatisation.
Classic Greek tales are works of poetry as well as prose. This interpretation is masterful and keenly dramatic performed excellently by the fully professional cast.
A long but engaging production necessary grips the listener and, to the best of my remembrance, holds faithfully to the original.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2010
Having recently become very interested in Greek Mythology but not a huge reader of very long books, which Homer's Odyssey is, I thought this CD might be a more accessible way of 'reading' one of the most important writings of the period, indeed ever. It proved to be much, much more than an easy way of wading through the text - this CD is an absolute joy to listen to. Modern, comical, colloquial phrases have been woven into the fabric of the beautiful poetic language and the commanding delivery by the actors (most notably Tim McInnery as leading man and John Wood as Zeus) is breathtaking. The music and song are also bewitching and together with the actors' performances they captivate the imagination and you become immersed in the story. For all their special effects, film versions of myths pale into insignificance in comparison to this production. Certain scenes such as Odysseus's trip to Hades and the encounter with the Sirens are my own personal highlights, but there are many other memorable moments that will make you smile, or gasp with wonder. I listened to the CD again just a few days after my first listening and will do so again, as there are bits that get missed first time around, when the mind may wander a fraction. Therefore in this sense you do get value for money as, because as well as excellent quality, it can be listened to more than once. I say this because the price nearly put me off buying it... so if you have a strong interest but are dithering because of cost, I suggest you take the risk. I certainly was glad I did...it is fantastic!
on 16 April 2015
Let's be honest with ourselves: however important a work like the Odyssey may be, so far I've never had the courage to read Homer's epic story.
I thought, having been charmed by the radio play 'Under Milkwood' (with Anthony Hopkins and produced by George Martin), why not try a dramatised version of yet another famous story? The right decision it seems: this work manages to seduce you, just like the sirens in the story do. Very convincing voice actors and sound effects that help to draw up an almost photographic setting.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2006
I am studying 'The Odyssey' for a level and so know the story and characters VERY well and I listened to this because apparently some of the Radio 4 plays are quite good.
I thought it was a well acted adaptation of the epic poem except the way they portrayed Circe, the Aeaean Witch who turns Odysseus' men into pigs. She's made to look quite sensitive and loving eventually. This is not how she is at all! That personality should have been given to Calypso, whom Odysseus stays with for seven years.
Nevertheless, they had to make it within the set time so it's quite understandable. In any case, it might be quite misleading if you're studying it.
on 16 June 2013
A great story and well acted, what a nice easy introduction into the world of Greek mythology, a great escape from the modern world.
on 6 June 2015
Excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed this.