Audiofile liked Romeo & Juliet [spoilers in comments]

There may be spoilers discussed in the comments.

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~ by Servetus on December 21, 2016.

9 Responses to “Audiofile liked Romeo & Juliet [spoilers in comments]”

  1. Hmm. I’m having to force myself to keep listening. This is the first of RA’s audiobooks where I’ve had to do that. RA’s voices and characterizations are wonderful, as always. But I seem to be having trouble with the story itself and believing in the romance itself. The surrounding dialogue is interesting, but I’m not liking the main characters. It’s been a long time since I read the original play. Maybe I’d feel the same about the original at this stage of my life?

    • That’s the question that interests me. I haven’t thought much about R&J specifically since I was in high school; I saw it at APT at least twice in the nineties, but I never taught the play. About a week ago, I went back and reread the first scene and I was really amused and thought, huh, maybe you should think about your relationship with this again. However, Barsine (Wormwood Scrubs) wrote a review with spoilers that revealed some things both Hewson and Armitage had hinted at in their interviews that made me think, nah. Listening to the whole thing just to end up feeling like I don’t want to write about it (or only have negative things to write) feels like unwanted homework. But I do think I’m going to finish rereading the original play in any case. Which will potentially make me want to watch the Zefirelli movie again, too.

  2. Unfortunately, “unwanted homework” is how the audiobook is making me feel. Even though, as I said, the voices are great. Amazing that he can make himself sound like an old man or an older lady and still be believable — you forget you are listening to one actor. And yet I enjoyed Copperfield more.
    Maybe I’ll stop listening for now and reread the play too. I have fond memories of the Zefirelli movie, having watched it in school as a teenager.

    • One of the main things I thought was, hah! I get this scene now! (tons of double entendres). I mean, our high school English teacher pointed them out, too, but I was 14. Jokes about swords / penises were just not that funny to me. Now that I’ve seen a few penises in action, they are hilarious … (maybe TMI).

      • That’s funny! I know what you mean, though, about getting the humour more now. Even in the audiobook, I went and looked up a scene in the play to see if Hewson had added them or if those double entendres were actually in the play– and in fact they were! Yes, I think those went right over our heads when we were 14.

  3. I loved the way it was read, but intensely disliked some of the changes Hewson made to the story as we know it, particularly the ending. I’m still irritated days later. As a result, the audio book was a huge disappointment to me, though some people clearly like it this way. To me he destroyed the emotional impact and a lot of its credibility as a story set in a specific time / place.

    • I’m going to put a spoilers warning in the post, just a sec.

    • Oh, wait, I just realized SueBC is probably subscribed here. Well, I’ll try to be vague.

      i could not agree more regarding the ending. “For never was a story of more woe. Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” That’s just not true if the story ends differently. Barsine said, well, an adaptation can change the story without being a different story, and I agree with that up to a point, but not with this particular change. It’s tragic because it has that particular ending; that’s why the story has its emotional impact (however clichéd that may have become in the interval). The tension (and the viewer’s awareness of the futility of what’s happening as it happens at the end) is completely removed. And the main characters act in the way they do, are forced into certain decisions, because of when they live. They wouldn’t have acted that way otherwise. If that can be circumvented — why even bother with all the apparatus of fifteenth century Verona (since it didn’t concern Shakespeare that much, either)?

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