I’ve been very good this week and actually listened to this in advance of blogging day. I was also a bit forgetful and forgot to turn off the shuffle feature at first, so started with a random chapter. Oh well!
I sometimes wonder if there are any two recordings with the same voices for the Five. This one has George played by someone who has voiced Anne in other recordings; she’s a bit too girly for George and it makes me think Anne’s speaking when she’s not. Timmy is back to sounding like a very small, yappy dog unfortunately. Dick is voiced by the same actor as he is in Five Go Off to Camp (the only Blyton cassette tape I had as a child) and even though he has rather a lisp (he’s really imprethed at one point) he’s Dick to me. Julian and Anne are perfectly fine, but I can’t recall which recordings if any they have been heard on before.
I did notice, though, that we don’t hear Anne at all until the face appears at her window (chapter three in the book). She’s mentioned by the narrator but I didn’t hear her make a peep before then.
Some updatings have crept into the story – George and Jo both wear jeans instead of shorts and Julian is no longer Master Julian when Joan speaks. I think some of the descriptions of Jo and her father have been tampered with too, but I didn’t have the book to hand while I listened so I can’t be sure.
Plenty has been left though – they still talk about how boys shouldn’t hit girls, and Dick and Jo still come to blows.
There isn’t a huge voice cast in this recording, but then there perhaps aren’t as many incidental characters. There’s the Five, obviously, plus Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin (briefly so they don’t make too much of an impression). Then there’s Joan, Jo, Jo’s father Simmy, Jake, Markhoff, Red Tower and one policeman.
Markhoff and Red Tower are both given stereotypical Russian sounding accents. Votch instead of watch and so on. It’s almost like Grandad in Only Fools and Horses doing his best German. “Vot is your name?” and all that. Both of them sound pretty similar. As do Simmy and Jake when it comes down to it, I just assume Jake has dialogue towards the end at the house on the cliff as it was hard to tell who was talking sometimes. Simmy/Jake may also have been in Five Go Off to Camp, actually, as it sounds rather like Wooden Leg Sam.
Anyway, Jo’s decent if a bit girly and Joan does a good ‘country woman’ accent.
There’s one big omission that I’m quite disappointed in. The whole chapter where the Five have to put out one of Uncle Quentin’s notebooks to be collected is just narrated. So we don’t get to heard Sid at all. I would have liked to have heard his ‘coos’ and about him being ‘partial to chocolate mould’. I know, it’s a fairly inconsequential part of the story and there isn’t room for everything but I just really like that part!
Normally I don’t notice all the little bits that are cut to make it fit into an hour, it’s not until I’m flicking through the book that I go “oh yes, they missed this, or that,” but I really noticed the lack of Sid. Poor lad.
And that’s all I really have to say about it, I think! A good listen, even for one of my less favourite Fives. But then, you can’t really go wrong with the Five, can you?