Last year when Stef and I went to Seven Stories I bought a CD of Five Go to Smuggler’s Top and Five Get Into a Fix. Well, I haven’t yet listened to either of them yet (I have a bad habit of buying things and never getting around to watching/reading/listening to them) but I was lacking ideas for a blog this week and Stef suggested the CD, so here we are. It’s a bit of an odd pairing as those are titles 4 and 17 in the series, but they’re two of my favourites so it works well for me.
There are two CDs, each lasting around an hour, though there’s no leaflet or much in the way of information in the case. I’d like to have know the names of the voice actors and details like that.
I have a couple of the Daily Telegraph free audio CDs, so I recognised the music at the start of the story, and the narrator’s voice though like I said I can’t see anywhere on the box who he is. Actually, I had a cassette tape (showing my age here) when I was young of Five Go Off to Camp, and I think that might have had the same music and voice(s). My sister and I still do impressions of Jock’s very Scottish accent (being Scottish ourselves I suppose it’s not so much of an impression really,) when he says “aye, ah’m a ninny!”
Anyway. I’ve got my copy of Smugger’s Top beside me as I’m listening and it’s interesting to see how the text compares. The CD is only an hour long so naturally great chunks are missing, but much of the dialogue and some of the narrative is taken word from word from the book.
The dialogue is acted out by different voice actors, and it’s actually quite good. Though my favourite scene, the ash tree falling is cut down, so I didn’t hear my favourite lines:
“It’s the ash! It’s falling!” yelled Julian, almost startling Dick out of his wits…
“Listen to its terrible groans and creaks!” yelled Julian, almost beside himself with impatience.
which I use as my signature on the Enid Blyton Society forums. Even if Julian had said his lines it wouldn’t have been the same as the narrator only speaks periodically, and the dialogue is generally delivered without any ‘he saids’ or anything.
There are plenty of sound effects though, so they give good clues as to what’s going on – doors opening, Timmy barking, footsteps down the hall. Also a good help is that the voice actors have reasonably distinct voices so you know who’s saying that for the most part.
Sooty’s voice is a little wooden at times, but it’s not too bad. And Block is rather good, he’s wooden as well but then again he’s supposed to be! Julian actually sounds quite like Marco Williamson but I’m fairly certain it’s not him! Incidentally, Mr Lenoir has a distinct French accent, as does Mrs Lenoir, which makes sense given their names though there’s no mention of it in the books.
I enjoyed listening to the dramatisation, it was the right length to listen to in one go without seeming like too much of the story was missing.
Just a little warning, from experience, if you’re listening on a computer just be aware it’s in seventeen chapters, so if you’ve got your player on shuffle you’ll have a very disjointed listening experience!