Customer Reviews: The Screwtape Letters: First Ever Full-cast Dramatization of the Diabolical Classic (Radio Theatre)
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on September 29, 2009
I have to be honest. When I come across something that takes me by surprise, I don't think I can do it justice. That is the case with Focus on the Family's Radio Theater version of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters were a series of letters that C.S. Lewis wrote about Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood--both workers for the Devil about how to effectively lead people to Hell and away from God. They were originally published separately in a magazine and then compiled as a book.

I think the release of this audiodrama is very timely in our culture today. It brings to life C.S. Lewis' book from 60+ years ago. What amazes me so much about it is how true it remains today--even about our culture! I thought beforehand that there would be some very insightful comments made in it, but I had no idea how many!

I have not read the actual book, but it is on our bookshelf so I picked it up after listening to the audiodrama. It is amazingly true to the book. It is not a drastic abridgement as I had expected. The language they use is true to the book and the way Wormwood and Screwtape talk is also true to the book.

There is one particular point that struck me today that I didn't want to forget to mention. It was when Screwtape tells Wormwood that the best road to (Hell) is a very gradual one--not one marked by huge sins. Huge sins make people aware of their need for God. The gradual road (in my words) is like the frog in a pot that comes to a boil gradually--so he doesn't know he's dying.

What most struck me as I listened was that what Screwtape was really talking about is Cynicism. Cynicism is the Devil's best way to turn us away from the Lord. C.S. Lewis used other words, but essentially, that is what he was talking about.

As far as the dramatization goes, it is best to listen to it in daylight--although at night, it might have more of an impact on you. The actors were excellent! I wasn't concerned about the Behind the Scenes DVD because that has never been something I've really watched on movies. On the packaging, there is a warning that it is for ages 12 and up. I would agree with that and I'm glad they placed that age recommendation on the back. I was careful not to play it around my little ones or within their earshot.

I highly recommend this audio drama! It will give you much to ponder. It is definitely giving me much to ponder today.
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on December 2, 2009
I am minister and purchased the Dramatized Screwtape Letters to use in an Adult Class for church members. I used it in the course of the lecture hour with the class, playing it near the beginning of the class and unpacking the meaning after. I also have a straight forward reading of Screwtape by an Englishman as well The Screwtape Letters.

For the C.S. Lewis purist, this is not for you. The Screwtape Letters are first of all "letters" and not a book of theatrical scripts. So, I think, if Lewis were alive, he might slightly object to the recasting of this work into a performance and dialogue. It is, I think, meant to be read and reread, like one would read a parable or a proverb, meditating, thinking, pondering and awaiting illumination.

Having said that, this performance is truly and amazingly entertaining and for a teenage audience (whom we also have in class), it is far more effective at engagement and learning. It is funny and the voice of Screwtape is not only recognizable, it also captures the sinister-ness of the the evil being he is.

I personally thinking reading the Letters is best. Listening it being read without the theatrics is next best. But I would also highly recommend this to Amazon customers. It is superb.

Let me also suggest this resource as well: and The Screwtape Letters Study Guide CD-ROM (CD-ROM). This one is excellent for assigning Screwtape as school lesson assignment.
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VINE VOICEon October 4, 2009
Focus on the Family and Tyndale take C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, a series of imaginative and insightful letters from a senior demon, the title character Screwtape, to his novice nephew Wormwood, and add over four hours of audio by an accomplished cast of actors, like Andy Serkis, Gollum from the Lord of the Rings movies as Screwtape, and 10 original songs written for this production all in 5.1 surround sound. The Collectors Edition comes with 4 CDs and 1 DVD in a tri-fold case with original artwork with a slipcover. All 10 original songs are included in their entirety on disc four. Disc 5 includes behind the scenes featurettes.

Anyone familiar with the original book by Lewis will instantly recognize his witty and timely message; nothing is lost in the translation. The actors play their part just right - not too over the top and certainly not blandly. The original score hits just the right creepy note. The benefits of the 5.1 surround sound can not be over-stated.

The packaging is well done and gives the impression of worth even though the set only costs about $27 on ($39.99 MSRP.)

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this well done audio dramatization of Lewis' excellent book. So many times the publishers don't put in the effort on audio books and we end up with a lame soundtrack read by a boring voice actor. Not so with The Screwtape Letters. I highly recommend it to you.
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VINE VOICEon October 16, 2009
I am a HUGE fan of dramatic audio books. Audio books who have a narrator that does different voices are great (Jim Dale reading Harry Potter is an experience everyone needs to experience) but ones that have multiple actors and sound effects is like listening to a movie in your head. And the grand master of dramatic audio is Focus on the Family Radio Drama. They have put so many high quality titles ranging from beloved literary classics to original stories to historical events. I cannot get enough of them. Their production of the Chronicles of Narnia series is one of my absolute favorites. Therefore I was excited to hear that that they would be bringing another CS Lewis classic to audio life.

I'll be honest, I have never actually read the Screwtape Letters before. I've been meaning to but I've never gotten around to it. I had a bare bones idea of what the plot consisted of but I pretty much dove in mostly unaware. Well first off, I was extremely geeked that Screwtape was going to be played by none other than Serkis . His performance is totally awesome. He really gets into the role and you can just picture everything immediately. The voice cast is extremely talented and the sound effects really bring everything to life. I mean I could really see Screwtape and Wormwood talking or visualize the bombs over London.

Just the story itself is incredible. Seriously I think that everyone needs to read/listen to this book. It totally makes you think about everything you do and think about. Even if you're not a Christian, it's a good read. CS Lewis is simply brilliant the way he came up with this work. The reverse viewpoint of looking at things is just genius. What I thought was interesting is that Wormwood could do nothing to please his uncle.

The bonus DVD is really interesting as well and gives behind the scenes footage of the making of the radio drama. Included on the final disc are also several songs inspired by the book. There are several different genres and it's a nice bonus. Also be sure to listen to the very last track all the way to the end, for a hidden surprise.

All in all this is another outstanding addition to the Focus on the Family Radio Drama line. If the Audie Awards are looking for nominations for next year's awards, please include this one! I would recommend this book for older teens and up. There are some intense scenes that made me even jump several times and the topics included are not really for little ones. If you're looking for a different type of audio book to listen to or even if you've already read the Screwtape Letters, pick this one and give it a listen. VERY HIGHLY recommended.
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on September 29, 2009
We have The Screwtape Letters book but I have not read it yet. MH read it and said it was good, so when I saw the chance to review the audio of the book, I jumped at it. I have to say, this is the first time I have ever listened to an audio of a book and I loved it! It seemed to bring the book to life and was easy to follow and interesting. It made me thing of what people probably listened to 'way back when' on their radios. It is very entertaining. The story tells of the demons plans and schemes to make sure his 'patient' stays oblivious of God, and how to use his family and friends to keep him that way. It's an eye opener to things that happen in life that you may not think about and how people can be influenced and manipulated. I would recommend this to everyone, not only for instruction but entertainment.
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on December 3, 2009
The Screwtape Letters is true classic. Having never read the book, I found this to be a powerful listening experience. It has really changed the way I think about the demonic realm! While I've been familar with spiritual warfare for awhile now and am aware of some of the ways the devil schemes against us, this book brought my awareness to a whole new level. The book is fictional and should be treated as such, but it's possible that reality isn't too different. It has certainly given me something to think about.

Perhaps the most important thing that can be learned from this book is that the demonic realm has no friends. Those who think Hell will be a party among friends will be sadly disappointed.

In this audio rendition the actors and background music really brought this to life. The only downside was the bonus musical soundtrack. The lyrics were superficial at best, definitely not matching up to the depth and brilliance of C.S. Lewis' work.

For more information on this product, check out: [...]
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on November 1, 2009
The first time I tried to read The Screwtape Letters, I couldn't finish it. I was overwhelmed with anxiety. Lewis described a scenario so potentially real that it frightened me to the point of putting it down. Years later, that same anxiety is still in the back of my mind every time I return to it.

For some listeners, myself included, the audio drama will remove some of that sense of anxiety associated with reading it. At first I had anticipated that the audio, with sound effects, would enhance that feeling of the hair on the back of your neck rising when you read it. However, I quickly found that the dramatization actually made the letters seem less real. The human voices and somewhat exaggerated effects, while amusing and engaging, removed an element of the unknown - the image of Screwtape as the beautiful, but wicked creature likely envisioned by many avid readers of Lewis.

If you don't mind the creative tinkering, the drama is very entertaining. Instead of letter after letter, there is brilliant interaction between the characters of the story. The content of the letters seems preserved, but some are presented as dialog while Wormwood deals with his "patient", and a few presented as telephone calls between Screwtape and Wormwood. It's certainly a different way to get the story, and personally I enjoyed the new approach.

The only real negative of this format that I found was that the drama moves through Screwtape's points so fast, that it's hard to let them really sink in. If you start to think about one, you quickly lose track of the storyline. One of the best things about the book is that you can really dive in to some points that Lewis is making through Screwtape, by pausing and reflecting on them. I suppose that one option would be to listen to the audio drama in a number of segments (such as one "letter" per day), especially since this mimics how the letters were originally published. But there's also something fresh and exciting about listening to the whole story this way.

Overall, I highly recommend it.
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on December 15, 2011
This spiritual classic needs little introduction, unless one is unfamiliar with the excellent works of C.S. Lewis. Read just off the page, the book is brimming with deep wisdom and insight as to how the devils attack us at our weakest points. Each letters is packed to the gills with clues to our truest nature and the pitfalls we all face. An example? These lines
from letter seven are haunting:

"The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs
are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an
end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little
difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings,
pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than
prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours - and the more "religious" (on
those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down

This explains so much confusion in the world today-

Add Andy Sirkis and Focus on the family and what you have is a tour de force presentation that the whole family can enjoy and be edified by. The sound is excellent as we have come to expect from focus on the family. The added dialogue is perfect, not overdone, but illustrative. It leaves C.S. Lewis' intentions fully in tact while adding another dimension of the experience with Uncle Screwtape.

In surprise to a few of the negative reviews of this excellent production and particularly to C.S. Lewis' letters themselves, Midwest Guy said "took 1000 words to say what can be said in 10" If you think you can say in 10 words what C.S. Lewis said in 1000, you are either some kind of genius or you have no idea what C.S. Lewis is saying.

This is an excellent production of the Screwtape Letters and more than worth the cost of admission.
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on July 14, 2015
As a book this is a masterpiece of psychology and theology, but as an audio performance it is brilliant! Satire at its best, Lewis creates a wonderfully deliciously conniving interplay between various demons trying to tempt a man away from converting, and then, upon his conversion, to tempt him back into darkness. In the book the dialogue is in the form of letters between the demons, while in the audio it is a mix of dialogue and letters. I was a little curious as to how the audio would be done, and it is a masterful adaptation in every way. Between the music, sound effects and snively, self absorbed voices, its a delight. And a warning.
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VINE VOICEon November 9, 2009
I have always wanted to read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, but I never could keep the storyline straight and often confused Wormwood with his uncle, Screwtape. Focus on the Family produced a very nice audio version and so now, I've "read" it.

If you're not familiar with The Screwtape Letters, let me give you a little info. There are three main characters: Screwtape, Wormwood & "The Patient". Screwtape is portayed as a demon who is fairly high up on the chain of command, yet not high enough to escape punishment himself. Wormwood is his nephew who is working on his "patient" by putting stumbling blocks in his pathway so that he does not please the "enemy" (Christ) but pleases "Our Father below" (Satan). His goal is to prevent his patient from accepting Christ. Apparently it is a bad thing for the demons if they don't fulfill their goal.

This audio version is very good. There are 4 CD's and lasts about 4 hours long. I will say that I would not allow small children to listen to this as the voices can be pretty intense and frightening.

I received this product free in exchange for my honest opinion.
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