Uncle Fred in the Springtime by P.G. Wodehouse (Doubleday, Doran, 1939) audiobook read by Stephen Fry (Audible, 2021) [as part of “The Blandings Collection”] Perhaps the most twisted and entwined plot that Wodehouse ever laid down. If anything, the Gordian Knot is perhaps too great, for the sheer effort of describing it leaves Wodehouse a bit short of his usual…
Tag: Stephen Fry
The Hippopotamus dir. John Jencks (2017) Suitably if affectedly quirky, and faithful to Stephen Fry’s novel. Roger Allam, starring as a misanthropic lapsed poet investigating a spate of manor-house miracles, delivers a decidedly Fry-esque yet more measured performance than Fry himself might have managed if playing the role.
Troy Review of “Troy” by Stephen Fry (Michael Joseph, 2020); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (Penguin, 2020) Stephen Fry brings alive the mythological epic that is the siege of Troy. More than that, he makes his telling accessible, managing—quite heroically—to sort out the genealogies, timelines, themes, actions, characters and motivations without ever getting bogged down in detail.
The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle (George H. Doran, 1915); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (ABC/Audible, 2018) In essence, two largely unconnected novellas. The first sees Holmes in fine form, his aura only enhanced by Inspector MacDonald’s shining a lesser light of uncommon strength. The second is an engaging enough story of Freemason gang activity in lawless north-east…
The Sign of the Four
The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, 1890); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (ABC Audio, 2017) A bravura second outing for Holmes and Watson, once again deflated by a lengthy coda in which neither man features. An important novel for having affirmed the strength of these two characters, and for indicating that Conan Doyle should…
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (George Newnes, 1892); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (ABC, 2017) The first and arguably most accomplished batch of Sherlock Holmes short stories. The cases are consistently ingenious and Holmes is full of a vitality that Conan Doyle would not always muster. Stephen Fry reads with the obvious relish of a lifelong…
Jeeves and the King of Clubs
Jeeves and the King of Clubs by Ben Schott (Hutchinson, 2018); audiobook read by James Lance (Bolinda, 2018) Schott faithfully dovetails his plot threads and recaptures much of Wodehouse’s loquacity, albeit without quite the same vim of expression or uproarious knack for aperçus. The world is right but the reading seems off. It really needed Hugh Laurie and/or Stephen Fry.…
Paddington Here and Now
Paddington Here and Now by Michael Bond (HarperCollins, 2010); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (Oakhill, 2012) Fifty-plus years from his first appearance, Paddington Bear remains a chaotic force of nature, his innocence, ignorance and polite, good-natured optimism giving rise to all manner of comic misunderstandings. Stephen Fry voices the characters beautifully. Paddington, it seems, will never grow old.
Saturday Live, Volume One
Saturday Live, Volume One by Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie (Redbush, 2015) A patchy collection of highlights (so-called) from the 1986 TV variety show. Fry and Laurie are first-billed but don’t actually feature that much. Instead, there’s Ben Elton’s high-octane social and political stand-up, protest poems by Craig Charles, and several remarkably unfunny also-rans.
The Stars’ Tennis Balls
The Stars’ Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry (Hutchinson, 2000); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (Random House, 2010) Beginning as a typically loquacious exploration of class and envy, Fry’s fourth novel (‘Revenge’ in reissue) is forged over three acts into a harrowing, tender, bitter Shakespearean tragedy – best performed by Fry himself. Two-facedness reaps what it sows; the cycle starts over.…