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on 7 September 2011
Intelligent viewing - and it is a real pleasure to watch the performances of people like Coral Browne, who I never got to see on the stage.
You can totally focus on the performances - no quick cuts to satisfy the viewer who only has a tiny attention span - or who is THOUGHT to have a tiny attention span. Money well spent!
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on 6 January 2011
These DVDs are excellent BBC productions of excellent Shaw plays. If, like me, you are a theatre lover, but can't get out to see plays any more, these DVDs are wonderful substitutes.
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on 8 September 2009
First class acting in ten first class plays.

The Bernard Shaw collection is obviously best enjoyed at a local live theatre with an unusual repertoire. For those of us who don't have such a theatre in our neighbourhood this is an excellent alternative. I find well-filmed stage productions to be excellent entertainment, and tend to groan slightly when the TV-adaptations show glimpses of the embassy ball in Pygmalion or the Millionairess hard at work.

The extremely witty one Act play "Androcles and the Lion" and "You Never Can Tell" are also included in the set (which actually is an 8 Disc Box Set ... I bought mine from Amazon.co.uk).

If a second volume of Shaw plays were to be released by the BBC, I would pre-order it.
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on 13 January 2015
Some of Shaw's plays are heavily didactic, lacking the light touch and whit of Oscar Wilde, but there are some sparkling performance to leaven the dough. If you are tired of reality television and look back fondly to the days when classic stage plays were regularly on offer, you will enjoy these.
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on 13 December 2015
This review may be a work in progress as I work through the plays. So far the plays, while providing a record of some of Shaw's dramatic works, are disappointing lack lustre productions. It is difficult to imagine these productions coming from the BBC which produced The Forsyte Saga or the Pallisers.

The Apple Cart, which I have encountered as an entertaining radio play, and has had successful runs at the Niagara on the Lake Shaw Festival is a benchmark bad production. Badly dressed, appalling sets, dull pacing results in the cut and thrust of the dialogue being completely lost.

Pygmalion was better but Eliza Dolittle was somewhat miscast, rather tall and dominating the other characters. Pacing was better but still a bit stodgy and I am curious what text was used. I suspect elements from the film screenplay, also by Shaw, seem to have been inserted since as presented here it would be difficult to stage. A plus here is that the ending makes more sense than in the film version.

The best play so far working through the set is the short "Man of Destiny". Still feeling like a stage production pacing is better with a few weaknesses, the play presents a version of Napoleon's first meeting with Josephine. Twists are a little predictable but Napoleon's prophetic vision of his ultimate defeat and entertaining analysis of English and Irish character comes off well.

Androcles and the Lion slips back to simply being stodgy and clumsily paced. It is capable of better performances.

Best so far, but slightly short of perfect is "Arms and the Man". This is enhanced by good sets and costumes. The weakness is slightly slow initial pacing but things eventually get moving to bring off the farcical elements reasonably well if a shade less than perfect.

I may deal with the other plays later. So far it is good to have productions of these plays available but text is suspect.
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on 7 September 2014
A superb set full of real drama and wonderful acting. They don't make them like that any more -real quality. Just like going to the theatre. A fantastic night in on each disc.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 March 2016
Superb collection of first rate television productions all brilliantly cast, directed and design. Great examples of the golden age of television.
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on 25 March 2016
A return to the days when the BBC put on wonderful productions under the Play of the Month/Week banners. The acting and the dialogue were a joy to behold, and fortunately in those days the musical background was kept to a minimum.
As others have said, the dumming down by the BBC means the only way to see a play now-a-days is to go to the theatre.
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on 1 June 2015
So good. So good it's difficult to choose which you like best. I think probably for me Arms & the Man, then The Apple Cart (this is the play he wrote following accompanying Lady Astor to see Stalin in Russia - check with Michael Holroyd). I didn't like Heartbreak House so much. Wonderful selection - very entertaining.
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on 2 April 2015
A delightful collection of G B Shaws plays performed by ffamous artistes.
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