The Odyssey – Jermyn Street theatre and LRBookshop -s a 72 strong cast deliver Homer’s masterpiece on you tube. 4**** William Russell

A 72 strong cast including Suzman, Pennington, Fielding, Threlfall and Van Randwyck embarked on this marathon performance at 9am on 9 October 2020. It lasted for 12 hours and can still be found on the Jermyn Street You Tube site and the London Rare Bookshop You Tube site until 19 October. Books 1-4 are on the LRBookshop site, the remainder on the Jermyn Street one.
The cast includes many actors who perform regularly at the Jermyn Street theatre and is a major venture well worth dropping in on. It is what I plan to do.
It is well worth the listening to – a glitch or two aside. It is a bit like those TV history programmes which keep repeating what you have already been told because of the advertising breaks and have forgotten or because you might have joined in and need an up date.
But that said the readings were delivered beautifully and it was an experience to relish. The version by Emily Watson which the first rate cast directed by Tom Littler read is fluent and easy to follow – this is a saga of Gods and monsters and a wandering sailor and his son at times becomes quite confusing as the Gods interfere and Odysseus gets in to yet more trouble. But this is what Homer was doing – telling stories to entertain and it does just that every bit as effectively as any blockbuster movie, you just need to add a little imagination. The thing is to take it in stages. The word for the whole enterprise is quite simple – Homeric.
William Russell
The full cast list details are on the web site.

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