The Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament is a dramatic audio Bible. It contains three CD's with over 23 hours of MP3 audio files and a behind the scenes DVD. The translation being read is the International Children's Bible. The readers are mostly young stars such as American Idol's Jordan Sparks and famous Christian authors. I'm not familiar with most of the readers.
I didn't notice any glitches in the readings. Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. I was able to easily load the mp3s onto my cell phone and play them back. I wasn't very familiar with the ICB translation prior to listening to this. It seems to work within a pretty limited vocabulary so it was easy to understand. I thought some of the sound effects during the Gospel readings were quite good. If anything they, could have been turned up notch.
Unfortunately, the readability of the ICB translation seems to sacrifice a lot of accuracy. There's a lot of paraphrasing. The paraphrasing means that they made a lot of exegetical decisions for the listener and I think in many cases they went the wrong way. Passages that are actually talking about teachers being judged by the truth of their teachings are interpreted to be talking about everyone being judged by their works.
I found the music distracting. It reminded me of something you might hear in the background of some new age motivational tape. They didn't really seem to go along with the passages very well. As I mentioned earlier, I thought that the sound effects in the Gospels were generally good but in other places like the Apocalypse I thought they sounded kind of silly.
The readers were a mixed bag. There were a couple that were good but overall I thought that they were bad choices. A lot of the male readers sounded pretty feminine when they were reading their parts. I though Herod was actually being read by a woman when I first heard it but it was actually a man reading. The person reading the lines of Jesus made Jesus sound like some sort of stoned cult leader just about to fall asleep. I'm pretty sure that when Jesus was preaching to thousands of people he was projecting His voice and not sounding like He was just about to turn to the guy next to him and ask him to pass the joint. If the reader was able to keep up how he sounded when he was playing Jesus as He was casting out demons for the rest of the reading it might not have been so bad.
I'm hoping that some day I'll come across a dramatized audio Bible that tries to be more faithful to what some of these people would have sounded like. I understand that complete imitation is impossible but it would be nice if they didn't sound like generic seeker-sensitive worship leaders.