Audible UK has been producing original works since at least 2008 (*), and its latest original production is a clever twist on the historical footnote that in Shakespeare's time, all the actors were men.
Audible Originals' Romeo and Jude is a gritty modern-day reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that replaces the classic story of star-crossed lovers from opposing families with a May-December romance between two actors who meet while acting in a retro production of Romeo and Juliet (there's a play within the audiobook, yes).
Romeo and Jude features Game of Thrones actor Owen Teale, who plays the Night Watchman Allister Thorne in the HBO series, as aspiring actor Ray. Teale plays opposite Pride’s Matthew Tennyson, who voices the character of Jude.
Jude is the college-dropout son of Charlie, the homophobic financier backing the play within the audiobook, and Jude meets Ray when Jude is cast in the role of Juliet in the play within the audiobook (the play follows the true Shakespearean style of an all-male cast).
The story quickly begins to see life imitating art as a behind-the-scenes love affair begins between Ray and Jude. Forced to flee from Jude’s father Charlie, played by Nick Moran, a "whirlwind chase steeped in violence, fear, love, death and despair draws in the couple, their families and the cast of the play."
Tennyson said: “What I like most about this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is how big and unashamedly romantic it is. You’d expect a modern interpretation to undercut the romance, but it doesn’t - it’s still big, poetic and really moving.”
The trailer offers additional detail:
Romeo and Jude was written by William Shakespeare and Marty Ross, directed by David Beck, and produced by Mariele Runacre. The audiobook is available from the Audible website.