As has been oft-lamented, there’s a lot of junk on the Internet. Even worse, I’m pretty sure I’m responsible for a bit of it myself. (Nothing evil, mind you. Just banal.)
Sometimes, though, I stumble across something that is so fantastic, it makes me forget all the banality and junk. Like Jeremy Irons (and Alec Guinness) reading T.S. Eliot. Or pianist Maria João Pires performing an unexpected Mozart concerto from memory. Or this, an audio recording of “The Taming of the Shrew,” staring Siân Phillips as Katharina, and Peter O’Toole as Petruchio.
That’s right. Peter O’Toole.
The recording, which I found nestled away on The Internet Archive, is part of something called The Collectors’ Library of Great Shakespeare Plays — Murray Hill (aka “Living Shakespeare”). It was recorded in 1962. Or 1986. Nobody’s quite sure. And it’s also an adaptation. (Because 54 minutes. And because O’Toole is listed as one of the abridgemakers. But that just means it’s “Fun Size,” right?)
I find some of the audio a bit hazy, especially the parts where they’re trying to gussy it up with ambient noises and conversation. But even in this strictly-audio version, O’Toole stands out. Easy on the ears, he is.