“The Lemon Is In Play”
These four short stories are reasonably true to Conan Doyle’s original Holmes, not quite as good as his best known, but good enough for a casual fan of the great detective. The readings by Benedict Cumberbatch are wonderfully sublime; he is eloquent and clear throughout, reading with great enthusiasm, and has a good voice for story-telling. He ‘narrates’ the stories as Dr John Watson but then does all of the voices, of Holmes himself, but also the other acquaintances whose paths cross his own. I found myself captivated by his different characters.
I couldn’t help but smile at his Cockney villain voice in the first story and laugh at his imitation of a female voice in the later. It is one of the best performances – and performance here, rather than reading as he very much acts the characters – I’ve heard on audio-book. I felt that there was also some humour written in to the stories, and Benedict draws this out expertly, delivering the puns and quips with perfect pacing. These four new stories are written in a very authentic style by John Tayor and at only 30 minutes duration each, great as a bed time listen.The stories themselves are not too complicated and you don’t need to be a Sherlock Holmes yourself to work them out! With his perfect cut glass diction and soothing velvety tone, I’m sure he could read my car mileage and I’d want to buy an Audio- book version of it. Fun stories written and read in great style. Well done Shoe Lane for stocking such a gem.
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Finding a Radio Comedy show that combines consistently high quality scripts, a stellar cast performance every episode and has an air steward named Arthur in it is very rare. That is until you listen to Radio 4’s Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore.
There’s Roger Allams’ been there done that sky god and super schemer, who’s mastery of the dry put down makes the Gobi desert look like a tropical paradise. There is Benedict Cumberbatch’s Captain Crieff, a man who spends more time at sea than in the air. There’s acerbic Caroline Knapp-Shappey, CEO of MJN Airline, or at least the owner of MJN air’s sole plane Gertie.
And of course, there is an air steward called Arthur; son of Caroline Knapp-Shappey, inventor of fizzy yoghurt and the yellow car game, he is infinitely upbeat at the worst of times, finding everything brilliant. As is this show: brilliant.
So the seatbelt sign is on. The travelling lemon is in play. Now just sit back and enjoy your flight.
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