Time Out London
20 Dec 2010
Books & Poetry: A word in your ear
You don’t often read of actors giving ‘the performance of their lives’ for an audiobook. But this can be said of John Simm’s astonishing reading of ‘Billy Liar’ (CSA Word, 7hr unabridged, £17), Keith Waterhouse’s tale of a budding comedy writer indulging his big-city fantasies while bound by the turgid rhythms and native nosiness of ’50s Yorkshire.
A Lancashire-raised Londoner with a fish-out-of-water acidity of his own, Simm nails Billy’s imaginative liveliness and studied insouciance, while the dialect flows like a draught down a ginnel. Conveying the compulsive mimic’s ‘vocal doodling’ must be the voice actor’s equivalent of rubbing your tummy, patting your head and eating an Eccles cake at the same time. Like the novel, Simm sparkles in surprising ways.
Listen and enjoy now! Sample clips of John Simm reading Billy Liar:
A Yorkshire Breakfast Scene (0:01:01)
Funeral Shop Customer (0:00:28)