by PG Wodehouse
BBC Adaptation - 8 hours, 45 minutes
If you've been reading along for the past few months, you know that I recently discovered and fell in love with Wodehouse's Jeeves books. I've been listening to everything Jeeves I can get from my library.
Up 'til now I've only heard the traditional audio books narrated by Alexander Spencer. His narration is perfect for these books and I've quite enjoyed listening to them. This collection was different though. I didn't know it until I started to listen, but this collection is actually a BBC adaptation complete with several actors.
The three stories included in this collection are: Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves ... Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit ... and The Inimitable Jeeves. As usual, they are chock full of fun and farce. This time around, the complications include love triangles, darts tournaments, choir boys, and lots of other nonsense.
The first question is - does this count as an audio book since it is actually a BBC adaptation?
Since this is my blog and I get to decide the rules, I say yes. It IS a direct adaptation of several Wodehouse stories, and the changes to the story only come in the way of adding some sound effects and a bit of extra narration to fill in the scene.
The second question is - how does this compare to the traditional audio books?
Surprisingly, I have to say that it was much worse! Spencer does such a fantastic job with his narration of the traditional books that even a full complement of actors can't really compare, in my opinion. If anything, the additional voices were actually distracting to me. For another, there was too much laughing - it was quite irritating.
The characterization was a problem for me too. It's sort of like reading a book then seeing the movie and thinking that the actors are all wrong for the part because they don't match your imagination. Spencer's characterization of Bertie and Jeeves gave me clear opinions on how they should sound, and the actors in this collection portrayed them quite differently. I do have to say though that the voice of Aunt Dahlia (aka Mrs. Travers, aka "aged ancestor", aka my favorite person in the Jeeves books) was spot on - whoever played her did an excellent job of bringing her eccentricities to the forefront and making me love her even more than before.
All in all, I really wasn't a fan of this collection. The stories didn't grab me, but I think that was mostly due to the fact that I didn't like the way the adaptation was done. Too bad ... I think this has put me off Wodehouse for now.
Have you ever had this type of experience with audio books vs. radio adaptations? Are there other BBC programs that are actually worth listening to?