I give this project five stars, but a qualified five. Like one of the other reviewers, I agree: there were certain scenes/characters I would have liked to hear performed differently, but considering the enormity of the project, 100% sustained satifaction seems an unreasonable expectation (indeed, the bard himself has some weak moments across the 38 plays--he was only human, after-all). And I would have liked it if the nondramatic poetry were included (there are several wonderful recordings of the sonnets available--I recommend Helen Vendler's rather introspective performance and Alex Jennings has recorded a fine complete version of the same--he also plays Berowne in the Arkangel "Love's Labor's Lost", a fine touch, considering the connections between the sonnets and that play!). But overall, how can you argue with an effort like this? Shakespeare is the greatest poet the Western world has known, and these recordings give overwhelming support to that critical commonplace. As literary values change (decline?), the eminence of Shakespeare becomes more important. To hear these plays is to hear the english language bursting at the seams. To know these plays is to know what poetry is capable of, which is nothing less than a sanction of life. And the audio format is perfect for poetry, which MUST be heard. Long live the audiobook!
Some notable strengths of this collection include, first & formost, the use of reliable, unabridged texts. An industrious student, armed with the Pelican Shakespeare, can become intimately familiar with Shakespeare's glory. The sound engineers deserve special praise, they have created a most sophisticated aural enviroment: these recordings love the headphones. I recommend some fine wine, candles, and comfy furniture. My love and I have been transported nightly for weeks, and it has been an incomparable bonding experience for us. Also lovely is the original music by Le Gendre, who helps us to realize that the Bard also wrote the most memorable songs in English. Overall, the acting is well balanced between serving the poetry and serving the drama--which is as it should be. I could go on, but I'm tired. It is a fine investment for lovers, for families, for school-children, for adults, or for solitary dreamers. Shut off the idiot box: strongly recommended!