3rd June 2020

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

Many of us can barely contend with listening to our own voices for 10 minutes, so it is completely understandable if anyone is struggling with audiobooks; listening to the same narrator for 3 hours can be difficult 😳  But did you know that SURLY has a wide range of audiobooks with full casts! This means that each different character has a different voice actor 🥳. These particular kinds of audiobook provide a wonderful immersive experience and will certainly change your attitude towards audiobooks, for the better. So settle in under a blanket, grab a cup of coffee and let yourself be whisked away into a story from the comfort of your own home. 

 

From Shakespeare to fantasy to young adult fiction – we’re excited to show you 18 of our favs!

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

 

 

Macbeth: A Fully Dramatized Audio Production from Folger Theatre

The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, brings Macbeth to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition.Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, is among the most powerful and influential tragedies in the English language. Promised a golden future as ruler of Scotland by three sinister witches, Macbeth murders the king in order to succeed to the throne. Tortured by his conscience and fearful of discovery, he becomes fatally enmeshed in a web of treachery and deceit.This new full-cast recording-based on the most respected edition of Shakespeare’s classic — expertly produced by the Folger Theatre, is perfect for students, teachers, and the everyday listener.

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray

A full cast dramatization of one of the great classics of contemporary Western literature. Dorian Gray, an effete young gentleman, is the subject of a striking portrait by the artist Basil Hallward. Gray’s narcissism is awakened, and he embraces a lifestyle of hedonism and casual cruelties. Increasingly consumed by his own vanity, he is forced to confront his true inner-self, in a manner that is as shocking as it is terrifying.An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Steve Juergens, Jim Ortlieb, Colleen Crimmins, Roger Mueller, Thomas Carroll, Paulin Brailsford, Rush Pearson and Martin Duffy.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket’s alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it. Unless you have an ear for such ghastly details as a tragic fire, a nefarious villain, itchy clothing, and cold porridge for breakfast, all narrated in chilly detail by the distinguished, and disturbed, Tim Curry with a team of talented readers, you would be better off listening to something else.

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L’Engle’s ground-breaking science fiction and fantasy classic, currently a major motion picture. This movie tie-in audiobook includes an introduction read by director Ava DuVernay, a foreword read by the author, and an afterword read by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Jones Voiklis. Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a “tesseract,” which, if you didn’t know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg’s father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?In 1962, Madeleine L’Engle debuted her novel A Wrinkle in Time, which would go on to win the 1963 Newbery Medal. Bridging science and fantasy, darkness and light, fear and friendship, the story became a classic of children’s literature and is beloved around the world. 

 

Sadie

An innovative audiobook production featuring more than thirty voices, Sadie explores the depth of a sister’s love—poised to be the next story listeners won’t be able to pause.A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late. Courtney Summers’ Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep listeners riveted until the last chapter

 

It’s Not Me, It’s You!

One high school girl’s comedic examination of her dating past as told by the friends, family, and the boys who were involved! Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she’s been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody? Post-breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all of the guys that she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she’s learning about this method of record-keeping called “oral history” and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all of the guys she’s ever dated, and uses that information along with her friends, family, and even teachers’ thoughts, to compile a total account of her dating history. Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she’s spent time with just in time for prom night!

 

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

A Midsummer Night’s Dream must be one of the most enduringly popular of Shakespeare’s plays, and it is not difficult to see why: the work blends several kinds of comedy with a powerful atmosphere of magic and mystery and a satisfying set of contrasts – between city and country, reason and imagination, love and infatuation.

 

Shakespeare’s intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start: Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia’s father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon’s head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke’s wedding (one of whom is given a donkey’s head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.

 

Hamlet

Jamie Parker stars as the Prince of Denmark in this brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast production.At the Castle of Elsinore in Denmark, the court is uneasy. The king of Denmark has recently died and the throne has been claimed by the king’s brother, Claudius. Prince Hamlet, still in mourning for his father, distrusts Claudius and believes that what has happened at the court ‘cannot come to good’. The ghost of his father has told him he was murdered by Claudius. Can it be true? He arranges for a troupe of players to emulate such a murder before the court, in the hope that the truth will out. As circumstances play out, and Hamlet is variously counselled and challenged by the King and Queen, Laertes, Polonius, Ophelia, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the fabric of the court starts to unravel. Soon Hamlet’s indecision leads to a series of tragic events – and to what end?

 

Othello

This widely-studied play is one of the best sellers of the Shakespeare canon. Othello is a powerful general, revered by his soldiers and honored by his peers. But his strength cannot contain his jealousy and rage when he believes his beautiful wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful. As deception leads to tragedy, nobody is safe . . .  This production is the sixth Shakespeare play in the series undertaken by Naxos AudioBooks in conjunction with Cambridge University Press.

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

 

 

Romeo and Juliet: The Fully Dramatized Audio Edition

The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, brings Romeo and Juliet to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition.In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a tragic world in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. This play, set in an extraordinary world, has become the quintessential story of young love. This new full-cast recording — based on the most respected edition of Shakespeare’s classic — expertly produced by the Folger Theatre, is perfect for students, teachers, and the everyday listener.

 

Les Miserables: A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation

Joss Ackland, Roger Allam and Leslie Phillips star in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. When poverty drives Jean Valjean to steal a loaf of bread from a baker’s window, it is an action that will haunt him for the rest of his life. A citizen of post-revolutionary France, he is sentenced to nineteen years’ hard labour. On his release, his fortunes change and he becomes a respectable businessman and member of society – and yet his past continues to dog him in the form of the sadistic Inspector Javert, who seems determined to pursue Valjean to the grave. A student uprising is gaining momentum in Paris, and barricades are being built around the city. Valjean’s adopted daughter, Cosette, has fallen in love with the young revolutionary Marius, and the lives of all three are in peril unless they can flee to safety. Some of the most significant moments in 19th Century history form the backdrop for Victor Hugo’s powerful story, in which love and heroism march in the face of poverty and social injustice. 

 

Stardust: BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation

Matthew Beard and Sophie Rundle star in a brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the bestselling novel by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Eleanor Bron. Challenged to retrieve a fallen star, Tristran Thorn leaves the sleepy English village of Wall and crosses into the land of Faerie and the realm of Stormhold. Locating the star, he discovers it is no meteorite, but a young woman, Yvaine. When Yvaine evades him and escapes, Tristran discovers he is not the only one in pursuit of the star: there are dark forces in this magical land, and he must find Yvaine before she falls into their clutches. As he does so, Tristran will uncover the secret to his own identity and a fate beyond his wildest dreams. Directed by Dirk Maggs and Heather Larmour, and featuring over 20 minutes of unbroadcast material, this stunning new dramatisation boasts an extensive cast including Frances Barber, Maggie Steed, Nicholas Boulton, Blake Ritson, Bryan Dick, Charlotte Riley, Aisling Loftus, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Alex Macqueen. There are also cameo appearances by Tori Amos and Neil Gaiman himself.

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

The Grapes of Wrath

A heart-wrenching full-cast adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by John Steinbeck, starring Jeffrey Donovan and Shirley Knight. Set during the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath tells the powerful story of the Joad family’s trek from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the promise of a new life in California. But what they find threatens to rip apart their lives, and sever the ties that bind them together. Starring Shirley Knight as Ma Joad, Frank Galati’s finds its timeless heart in the generous spirit of the common man.A L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance. Live music performed by the Joel Rafael Band. Adapted by Frank Galati. Directed by Richard Masur. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. 

 

The Crucible

Richard Dreyfuss and Stacy Keach star in this full-cast performance of Arthur Miller’s classic. The Crucible, a central work in the canon of American drama. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, Massachusetts, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town. In a searing portrait of a community engulfed by panic – with ruthless prosecutors, and neighbors eager to testify against neighbor – The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-Communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip in the 1950’s. A Tony Award Winner for Best Play. An L.A. Theatre Works performance. 

 

A Lesson Before Dying

Based on Ernest J. Gaines’ National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel, A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Louisiana Cajun community in the late 1940’s. Jefferson, a young illiterate black man, is falsely convicted of murder and is sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, the plantation schoolteacher, agrees to talk with the condemned man. The disheartened Wiggins had once harbored dreams of escaping from his impoverished youth, yet he returned to his home town after university, to teach children whose lives seemed as unpromising as Jefferson’s. The two men forge a bond as they come to understand what it means to resist and defy one’s own fate. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance recorded at Voice of America in Washington DC.

Immersive/dramatised audiobooks

The Tempest

Sir Ian McKellen, fresh from his performance as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings is Prospero, and heads a strong cast in Shakespeare’s last great play. The wronged duke raises a tempest to shipwreck his old opponents on his island so that he can ensure justice is done. With Emilia Fox as Miranda, Scott Handy in the pivotal role of the sprite Ariel and Ben Owukwe as Caliban, this new production directed by John Tydeman, balances the magic and the earthiness with music playing a key role.

 

The Merchant of Venice

Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, agrees to lend Antonio, a Venetian merchant, three thousand ducats so that his friend Bassanio can afford to court his love, Portia. However, Shylock has one condition: should the loan go unpaid, he will be entitled to a pound of Antonio’s own flesh. Meanwhile in Belmont, according to the terms of her father’s will, Portia’s many suitors must choose correctly from three caskets. Bassanio arrives at Portia’s estate and they declare their love for one another before he picks the correct casket. Antonio falls into bad fortune and finds he cannot repay Shylock: a dramatic trial ensues to decide his fate.

 

Twelfth Night: Arkangel Shakespeare Collection

Shakespeare’s most sophisticated comedy is a riotous tale of hopelessly unrequited passions and mistaken identity. Duke Orsino is in love with the noblewoman Olivia. She, however, has fallen for his servant Cesario, who is actually Viola, a woman disguised as a man, who loves Orsino: confusion is rife. Meanwhile, Olivia’s arrogant steward Malvolio is cruelly tricked by her uncle Sir Toby Belch, his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and the maidservant Maria into believing his mistress loves him. Niamh Cusack is Viola, Jonathan Firth is Orsino, Amanda Root plays Olivia, Dinsdale Landen plays Sir Toby Belch, and Julian Glover is Malvolio. A Blackstone Audio production.

 

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