The Chronicles of Narnia: Never Has the Magic Been So Real (Radio Theatre)
I’ve been looking forward to doing a review of this marvelous CD series ever since I started The World of Lu blog.
A number of years ago I had the privilege of carpooling into Washington DC from Ashburn, VA with my friend Jeremy Hall, a Network Engineer who happened to be blind from birth. Obviously I did all the driving… not that Jeremy didn’t volunteer every now and then offering to ease my load!
I had bought the Narnia series some time before that, purchasing the books on CD one at a time. I was very pleased with them and so I thought I would test them out on Jeremy. I say test because Jeremy had a very developed sense of hearing. Yes, most blind people do but Jeremy was special. You see, he was somewhat of a virtuoso piano player/vocalist and had quite the sensitive ear to sounds. So the series got a rigorous review.
Each day I would pick Jeremy up and each day we would take the 40 minute drive in and 40 minute drive back, most days popping the CD both ways. I was thrilled with the presentation but Jeremy was even more delighted.
These CDs were true Radio Theatre. This was no sales ploy. Each character had their own actor reading the lines. When horses ran by there was the sound of galloping. When rowing or sailing were involved the lapping of the waves against the oars and boats resounded through the speakers. There was the wind. There was the chirping of birds. The sound of stairs being walked up. Doors closing. And there was the sound of music, beautiful music throughout that complemented a marvelous narrator.
For Jeremy this was cinema at its finest. Everything but the visuals. Not just everything, but more. These CDs were not video soundtracks playing. These were meant to fill in all the blanks that a missing cinema would cause.
Needless to say the CDs produced some of the most memorable and enjoyable drives in the midst of rush hour traffic imaginable. Both of us could heartily recommend the entire set which you can purchase individually or in one set.
The price alone makes this an incredible purchase, 7 books on 19 CDs and all under $30! (as of 9/12/2012 on Amazon where it receives a 4.8 out of 5 star rating)
The Chronicles of Narnia CD Collection is presented by Focus on the Family and it includes The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; and The Last Battle.
Additional features not mentioned above include:
- Douglas Gresham, stepson of CS Lewis narrates the introduction of each book, sharing family insights and facts and impressions of CS.
- Paul Scofield does a fabulous job of narrating each book.
- The audio books are abridged. However they are based on audio versions of the excellent BBC television presentations. The recordings are brought to life in London by a cast of more than 100 actors.
- The series is a 1999 Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner
Other than some grumping over the abridged version presentation there is one other slight complaint. That involves the voice of Aslan. I agree that the stylistic approach to the voice is a slight bit irritating but passable. Personally I don’t think it is even worth taking a tenth off an otherwise 5 star rating!
Children and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy the CDs. Take them on trips and listen in the car together. Smaller children might have more difficulty in that context. Just depends on attention span. I know some people like video over audio but overall the CDs are a marvelous effort and success and a great compliment to the books.