Gr 10 Up-British actor and director, David Timson, merits our unmitigated kudos for his knowledgeable and highly entertaining outline of the 2,500 year history of Western theatre, from Greek drama to present day musicals. Interlaced throughout the narration are more than 50 excerpts from representative dramatic works of each respective period performed by an ensemble of four veteran National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company actors. The deus ex machina is provided in the person of narrator Derek Jacobi, an actor whose incomparable talent and stentorian voice blissfully commands the listeners' undivided attention. In addition, excerpts from landmark productions such as Lee J. Cobb in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman are used. Individual cassette introductions and conclusions as well as breaks between sections are punctuated with fanfare-like period classical music from the vast Naxos catalog. Detailed liner notes delineating the complete Western canon from Greek drama in the 5th century BC to modern developments in the theatre from 1970-1990 are provided. The identification of each dramatic passage performed is also included. Timson contributes an introduction and glossary of technical terms. This excellent work will find an eager and hungry audience in high school humanities, English, and theatre classes.-Barry X. Miller, Austin Public Library, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.