• Playing Burton

  • By: Mark Jenkins
  • Narrated by: Matthew Rhys
  • Length: 1 hr and 19 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (721 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Emmy Award winner Matthew Rhys stars in this fascinating and award-winning one-man show about international star of stage and screen Richard Burton. Written by Mark Jenkins, Playing Burton offers a penetrating look at the notorious actor’s life, from growing up in an impoverished mining community in South Wales to becoming one of the greatest performers of his generation. Following his passionate, though tempestuous, love affair with Elizabeth Taylor and his tragic - and very public - battle with alcoholism, Playing Burton is a soulful exploration of fame, ambition, and identity told from the perspective of the megastar who experienced it all.

Please note: Playing Burton contains adult language and themes. 

©2020 Mark Jenkins (P)2020 AO Media LLC

Audible Questionnaire with Matthew Rhys

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About the Creator

Mark Jenkins was born in North London to Welsh/Irish parents. He has worked as a musician, soldier, journalist and lecturer in economics. He has lived in Cardiff for the last four decades and became a full-time writer in 1996. His first feature film, The Scarlet Tunic, adapted from a Thomas Hardy short story premiered at Cannes and the Odeon, Leicester Square, London in 1998 and he has subsequently written another six feature screenplays including Peerless, the biopic of Cardiff boxer, Jim Driscoll.
His plays include Birthmarks (1986), which won the Drama Association of Wales competition, the prize-winning Playing Burton (1991), Strindberg Knew My Father (1992), Mr Owen’s Millennium (1995), Downtown Paradise (1996), Nora’s Bloke (2003) and Rosebud (2004), which won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was described by Norman Mailer as "virtuoso writing, lyrical and rich." All have been published.
Playing Burton opened to two sell out seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and has run continuously worldwide since. It has been translated and performed in four languages and been adapted for the screen. The film, Playing Burton, produced by Spinning Head Films, received the Best Film Award by BAFTA Cymru in 2014.

About the Director

Wyndham Price graduated with honors in humanities and behavioral science, and studied jazz and music composition at Goldsmiths, University of London, then gained a diploma in film production in New York and his master’s in creative writing for film and TV at the University of Sheffield in the UK. He has extensive experience in the theatrical and film industries, having acted in over 30 stage plays, together with many TV and radio productions. He has also written, directed, and produced many theater and film productions over the last 25 years. In 2006, he established Spinning Head Films, where his first feature film as writer and director was Abraham’s Point. The film was nominated for three BAFTA awards, including Best Film, by BAFTA Cymru and can be seen on Amazon Prime. He has since shot six features, including Playing Burton, the feature-length film biopic of Richard Burton, which won the BAFTA for Best Film at the 2014 BAFTA Cymru Awards; and Crow, a supernatural thriller, which was the One to Watch at the 2016 Frightfest film festival in London and was released in 2017 by Sony Pictures in the USA.
He recently completed the psychological thriller No Vacancies, which will be screened in summer 2021. His feature screenplay Avengeance is now at one of the major studios in LA, while his feature film In the Mood for Murder is currently being packaged for production. To date, Price has written over 20 feature screenplays and a dozen stage plays. He enjoys art and photography, playing and listening to music, and, as a former junior Wales international rugby player, is a keen sports fan. He lives in Cardiff, Wales with his wife, Gaynor.

About the Performer

Matthew Rhys performed the leading role in HBO’s reboot of Perry Mason alongside John Lithgow, which premiered in June of 2020. Rhys also starred opposite Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for Sony TriStar directed by Marielle Heller.
He previously starred in his Emmy-winning role opposite Keri Russell in the popular FX series The Americans. The show was one of the most critically acclaimed dramas in the 2010s and received multiple best actor, actress, and series nominations. He can also be seen in the Steven Spielberg’s film The Post, Andy Serkis’s live action Jungle Book for Warner Bros, and an episode of Girls.
Previously, Rhys starred for five years as Kevin Walker on ABC's hit television series Brothers & Sisters, and appeared as the poet Dylan Thomas in John Maybury's film Edge of Love opposite Kiera Knightly, Cillian Murphy, and Sienna Miller. He made his New York theater debut in the 2012 revival of Look Back in Anger, for which he received rave reviews. In 2013, Rhys starred in the BBC mini-series adaptation of TD James’ homage to Pride And Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley, playing Mr. Darcy.

Interview: In 'Playing Burton,' Matthew Rhys Sees Himself

'He hit the zenith of what Hollywood was. He was the true star in that respect.'
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  • Playing Burton
  • 'He hit the zenith of what Hollywood was. He was the true star in that respect.'

What listeners say about Playing Burton

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A Look at the Legend

This was a play about the life of actor Richard Burton. Matthew Rhys portrayed him handily, and the accents were spot on. A touching look back into family dynamics, career and friends, it was entertaining.

10 people found this helpful

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Should be a six-star option

Reminds me of that time when even drunks might have class. The language, the weaving of conversation with literature, the voice. That voice, almost like he was back with us for a moment. Bravo.

9 people found this helpful

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Blown away. Magnificent beyond my expectations.

Knowing of the career of the great Richard Burton is one thing, to allow yourself to be completely immersed, enthralled, and smitten with every word, every inflection, every moment of this brilliant piece is a true, delicious delight. The acting sublimely superb, the writing, again fabulous. One of my favorites so far, utterly entertaining.

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Very Enjoyable

Liked it a lot - jives quite well with the impression of Burton’s life that I got from reading his published diaries.

Rhys’ natural South Walian accent serves the piece well - his timbre sounds a little higher and he does speak a bit more quickly than how I “hear” Burton’s voice in my head. Luckily, I discovered that choosing to have it play back at 0.9 or 0.8 speed deepens the tone, slows things down to a speed that better suits my own notions of Burton’s meter, and as a bonus, doing so also conveniently imparted the impression of the slightly inebriated slur that so many full-time drinkers develop.

7 people found this helpful

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Playing Burton

Exquisite. A must listen to! The man playing Burton has him down pat. I’m amazed that I felt so many emotions in such a short time. Kudos to Audible for this amazing piece of art!

7 people found this helpful

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Great acting

great acting. one of the best books I've ever listened to can't recommend it enough

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Worrisomely impressive

This for me is worrisomely impressive because as a you lad, I idolized Richard Burton as an actor. I don't think I really want to him as person. This act kind of spoiled it by being so good. 🤭

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quite a surprise

I really enjoyed this! Definitely check it out. I thought it was a bio when I grabbed it. it's better than that.

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I'm Speechless

Really, I'm speechless, because this play is so brilliantly written and performed. I have no more to say, except that the script is illuminated with quotes, among them Shakespeare, Marlowe, and, my favorite, a rather long one from "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold."

I know I will be withdrawing this work from my "library" again and again.

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Wonderful!

Beautifully written and acted. I highly recommend for anyone who loves theatre and history! Bravo!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jones
  • 05-05-22

Very interesting. Very well read.

A very interesting and easy listen. Mathew Rhys' voice and characterisation are perfect for Richard Burton.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-27-21

Outstanding

I was gripped from the first sentence. Lost an hour of time but gained a lifetime experience. superb writing and narrator.