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The Importance of Being Earnest: Starring Judi Dench, Michael Hordern & Miriam Margolyes (Hodder Headline Theatre Collection) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 16 Feb 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, 16 Feb 1995
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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books; Abridged edition (16 Feb. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859982182
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859982181
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.8 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,604,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Comes as close to perfection as any comedy I can think of. --Daily Telegraph --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Book Description

The BBC radio drama centenary production of Oscar Wilde's classic play, starring Judi Dench, Miriam Margoyles and Martin Clunes

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am currently studying The Importance of Being Earnest for my English Literature A-level and I can honestly say it is the best piece of writing I have studied so far. Funny, ironic and completely truthful, this play is based on people's behaviour, especially the behaviour of the aristocracy, which is, at times, nothing short of stupid, but that's where the humour lies. The play is fairly short, (A-level students everywhere heave a sigh of relief) but this doesn't prevent it from being complicated- those who have trouble remembering names might like to steer clear (at one point, two people claim to be the same person, even though this person doesn't exist). However, this doesn't make the play particularly difficult; once you have established the plot, it falls into place. A word of warning: if you have no sense of humour you will find this play a bore. For the rest of us, though, it's a highly enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
"The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" is one of the first plays written in English since the works of Shakespeare that celebrates the language itself. Oscar Wilde's comedy has one advantage over the classic comedies of the Bard in that "The Importance of Being Earnest" is as funny today as it was when it was first performed at the St. Jame's Theater in London on February 14, 1895. After all, enjoying Shakespeare requires checking the bottom for footnotes explaining the meaning of those dozens of words that Shakespeare makes up in any one of his plays. But Wilde's brilliant wit, his humor and social satire, remain intact even though he was a writer of the Victorian era.
Wilde believed in art for art's own sake, which explains why he emphasized beauty while his contemporaries were dealing with the problems of industrial England. "The Importance of Being Earnest" is set among the upper class, making fun of their excesses and absurdities while imbuing them with witty banter providing a constant stream of epigrams. The play's situation is simple in its unraveling complexity. Algernon Moncrieff is an upper-class English bachelor who is visited by his friend Jack Worthing, who is known as "Ernest." Jack has come to town to propose to Gwendolen Fairfax, the daugher of the imposing Lady Bracknell and Algy's first cousin. Jack has a ward named Cecily who lives in the country while Algernon has an imaginary friend named "Bunbury" whom he uses as an excuse to get out of social engagements.
Jack proposes to Gwendolen but has two problems. First, Gwendolen is wiling to agree because his name is Ernest, a name that "seems to inspire absolute confidence," but which, of course, is not his true Christian name.
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Format: Paperback
I personally think that this play is fantastic. Superficially it is a very trivial, lighthearted play with little plot but peppered with witty conceits. On a deeper level it provides an incredible, satirical view of Victorian moral society, from one of the the 'insiders'. The links between the play and the life of Wilde are rife, especially regarding Algernon. I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
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By A Customer on 14 Nov. 2005
Format: Audio CD
When this recording came out, I immediately ordered it, expecting a CD version of the recording available for decades on audio tape (also with Gielgud/Evans). NAXOS, however (and much to my chagrin), "regale" us (??) with a 1952 radio recording which is the aural equivalent of looking at an old oil painting that has been sandblasted and then hosed down with acid. Somewhere in the murk are the actors (apart from Gielgud/Evans, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Betty Hardy, Ronald Ward, Angela Baddeley,...) giving excellent performances, but I doubt whether this recording is really, as the liner notes by Richard Bebb state "vastly superior to a complete version Gielgud and Evans made for Columbia records" (presumably the version I mentioned above, with among others, Roland Culver, Pamely Brown, Celia Johnson, Jean Cadell). Basically it is like one of these old opera recordings which get dug up in some archives and are then issued - wonderful if one is in the mood for it, but basically a chore to listen to. My tip: wait for the 1953 Columbia/EMI recording - NAXOS, or whoever has the rights to the tapes, REISSUE IT AT ONCE!!!! This 1952 recording is nice as a back up, but the later recording wins hands down in the sound department.
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Format: Paperback
Despite the fact that I usually like to watch plays, not so much to read them on paper, I found "The Importance of Being Earnest" a very enjoyable reading. The plot is greatly witty and I had a real fun reading several scenes described in this book. Given the theatrical style, the overall plot is not quite realistic, yet it is highly brilliant and full of "English" humor. After having read the book, I also bought the Audio-CD version of it, which I also enjoyed sincerely.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Length: 3:49 Mins
First broadcast as a four-act play by BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day 1977, this purely audio adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic 1895 comedy 'The Importance of Being Earnest' featured the likes of Jeremy Clyde as Algernon Moncrieff, Richard Pasco as John Worthing, Prunella Scales as Cecily Cardew and Maurice Denham as The Rev. Canon Chasuable.

In 2010, the BBC released the recording in a 2 CD audio book format, as part of their Classic Radio Theatre series. The recording is crisp and clear, delivering a perfect representation of the original broadcast.

The performance was directed by Ian Cotterell, who went on to do similar adaptations of popular classics, notably Alice in Wonderland (also in 1977) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (1985). With 'The Importance of Being Earnest', Cotterell sets down a constantly flowing rhythm to the storyline's pace, allowing for an entertaining and engaging adaptation of this humorous classic.

Jeremy Clyde's exceptional performance as Algernon Moncrieff is one of the strongest elements to the production. His comically playful voice adds a joyful quality to each line. Indeed, every time Clyde speaks of Moncrieff's fictional friend 'Bunbury' or the art of 'Bunburying', the listener can't help but snigger at the whole elaborate affair.

All in all this is a triumphant adaptation of a much loved and enjoyed comedy classic by such a literary great. The pace and flow of the storyline is spot on, and the delivery from each member of the cast is simply superb. The recording itself is flawless, making an altogether excellent presentation. This is an item that is well worth purchasing.

The audio book runs for a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
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