These spellbinding dramatizations of Dostoyevsky's passionate novels, The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, are brilliantly presented by all-star casts. In The Idiot, Edward Asner, Harry Hamlin, Shirley Knight and others capture the seductive darkness of 19th-century Russian high society. Prince Myshkin returns to the jaded social whirl of 1860s St. Petersburg after 15 years of treatment for epilepsy in a Swiss Institute. The brothers Karamazov spring from the pages of this novel, led by their roue of a father, who entertains himself by drinking, womanizing and pitting his three sons against each other in this rousing performance featuring Sharon Gless, Harry Hamlin, and Star Trek's John de Lancie. 3 cassettes.
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Susan Albert Loewenberg's award-winning L.A. Theatre Works performs before live audiences at a Santa Monica hotel, in cooperation with the pioneering public radio station, KCRW. The popular, somewhat recherchŽ broadcasts feature established Hollywood actors who love radio and love to act. The resulting high spirits are evident even here, in productions seemingly designed to hammer nails into Dostoyevsky's coffin. Clumsy scripting, disparate acting styles and inept production mortify these two masterpieces. Nonetheless, the theatricality and sheer energy hold one's attention and, if nothing else, give one a diverting Classics Illustrated introduction to one of the greatest novelists of all time. Y.R. (c)AudioFile, Portland, MaineFrom Library Journal:
Two of Dostoyevsky's novels are presented as powerful plays by David Fishelson and the L.A. Theater Works in this terrific three-tape set. The Brothers Karamazov, directed by Fishelson and Eric Simonson, captures the passion and tragedy of the troubled family. Joseph Mascolo's interpretation as the hedonistic Fyodor and Arye Gross's portrayal of the gentle Alyosha offer the best performances of the two plays. Sharon Gless is wonderful as Grushenka, while John de Lancie's presentation of Ivan's tale of the Grand Inquisitor is truly gripping. In The Idiot, Douglas Weston is wonderful as Prince Myshkin, the simple but tragic title character who is eventually destroyed by the late-19th-century Russian upper classes. Also appearing is Edward Asner as General Yepanchin. The overall production quality is excellent, as Fishelson's scripts capture the essence of Dostoyevsky's works. Lovers of Dostoyevsky, the theater, and audio drama will enjoy this set. A required purchase for all audio collections.?Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Lib.
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