Drama Page 31

Many thanks to David M, Jim D, Alan K, John E.H, and Lori for contributions to this page. 

Murder in SamarkandMurder in Samarkand. David Hare’s witty portrait of an unlikely hero, based on the memoir by Craig Murray. Craig is proud to be sent as Ambassador to Uzbekistan, eager to work hard and also eager for fun. The combination takes him on a dangerous course both professionally and personally, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

At the Mountain of MadnessAt the Mountains of Madness. HP Lovecraft’s tale of terror read by Richard Coyle, set high in the Antarctic. Geologist William Dyer, a professor from Miskatonic University, writes to disclose hitherto unknown and closely kept secrets in the hope that he can deter a planned and much publicized scientific expedition to Antarctica. On a previous expedition there, a party of scholars from Miskatonic University, led by Dyer, discovered fantastic and horrific ruins and a dangerous secret beyond a range of mountains higher than the Himalayas.

Charlie MuffinCharlie Muffin. By Brian Freemantle. An endearing spy, irritates his new boss and co-workers because of his appearance and age, but that doesn’t stop them from taking the credit for his accomplishments. But Charlie perseveres and proves to be right over and over again in this story of the capture of a KGB general who is running a spy network in England.  

Clap Hands Here Comes CharlieClap Hands, Here Comes Charlie. By Brian Freemantle. Charlie Muffin (neither the man nor his name) doesn’t fit anyone’s view of an international spy. He’s a poor dresser, getting old, happily married, and hated by both the CIA and British Intelligence. Soon the directive goes out: Deal with Charlie–permanently.  

FuhrerFuhrer. By Allan Prior. A dramatisation of Allan Priors biographical novel based on the facts of Adolf Hitler’s life, but extends those facts to a fictional recreation of his personal life and psychological make-up. 

Len Deighton - BomberBomber. By Len Deighton. It is 18 February 1943, and RAF Lancaster bomber WF 183 – call sign O-Orange – is about to set off on its final mission. It is a raid which will touch the lives of hundreds: the civilians in the small German town of Altgarten, consumed by blazing fire, and the crews, both German and British, men and women. It is a night of horror that few will forget…When the gripping dramatised version of Bomber was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4, it was transmitted in ‘real time’ throughout the day, to incredible critical and audience response. Tom Baker is the Commentator, and an all-star cast includes Jack Shepherd, Frank Windsor, Samuel West, Emma Chambers, Brian Murphy and Michael Troughton. Bomber is a thrilling, action-packed and ultimately poignant story that will stay in the listener’s imagination for a long time to come. 

Mary PoppinsMary Poppins. By Pamela Lyndon Travers. An extraordinary English nanny blows in on the East Wind with her parrot-headed umbrella and magic carpetbag and introduces her charges, Jane and Michael, to some delightful people and experiences. 

National VelvetNational Velvet. By Enid Bagnold. The story of a 14 year old girl, Velvet Brown, who rides her horse to victory in the Grand National steeplechase. The horse which Velvet trains and rides in the Grand National is named The Pie, because he is a piebald colour (black and white). The novel focuses on the ability of ordinary persons, particularly women, to accomplish great things. Velvet is a teenager in the late 1920s, living in a small English coastal village of Sewels in Sussex, dreaming of one day owning many horses. She is a high-strung, nervous child with a delicate stomach. Her mother is a wise, taciturn woman who was once famous for swimming the English Channel; her father is a butcher. 

StanStan is Neil Brand’s tribute to a great comic duo. Tom Courtenay plays Stan Laurel in a play described in the Radio Times as “a poignant and powerful farewell to Oliver Hardy”. Hardy is in bed; he’s suffered a stroke, can’t speak, and is about four stone less than he was in the films. Stan is called to the bedside to make his goodbyes, and after he comes out with platitudes about his friend soon getting better, he realises that Hardy wants him to be honest and to tell the truth. This is a powerful play, and a number of listeners on the Radio 4 messageboard said that it moved them to tears. Courtenay was excellent as Stan, and the cast had Ewan Bailey as Ollie, plus Barbara Baines and Ed Bishop. Ned Chaillet was the director.  

More Stan and Ollie from the ‘People’ section in the …of interest page.

How to Make Your First Billion How To Make Your First Billion. Mathew Solan. Jake, a serial entrepreneur who has yet to succeed with a start-up company and Subash a technical whiz from India – who Jake studied with at college – decide to combine Subash’s ideas and technical know-how with Jake’s entrepreneurial flair, and go into business together. They have a vision for an internet venture which they believe will change the world. Fuelled by the track record of other small home-grown businesses that have made their mark in Silicon Valley and become billon dollar businesses, they believe they can do the same. 

Lux TheaterLux Radio Theater, a long-run classic radio anthology series, was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network (1934-35); CBS (1935-54) and NBC (1954-55). Initially, the series adapted Broadway plays during its first two seasons before it began adapting films. These hour-long radio programs were performed live before studio audiences. It became the most popular dramatic anthology series on radio, broadcast for more than 20 years and continued on television as the Lux Video Theatre through most of the 1950s. 

Lux Radio Theater – A Tale of Two Cities. 
Lux Radio Theater – All About Eve. 
Lux Radio Theater – Frenchmen’s Creek. 
Lux Radio Theater – Great Expectations. 
Lux Radio Theater – Hallajuah Corner. 
Lux Radio Theater – I Confess. 
Lux Radio Theater – Jane Eyre. 
Lux Radio Theater – Kitty. 
Lux Radio Theater – The Browning Version. 
Lux Radio Theater – The Count of Monte Cristo. 
Lux Radio Theater – The Ghost and Mrs Muir. 
Lux Radio Theater – The Phantom of the Opera. 
Lux Radio Theater – Wuthering Heights. 
Lux Radio Theater – Sorry Wrong Number. 

Burying The BonesBurying the Bones. Distinguished biographer Hilary Spurling takes as her subject Pearl Buck, the highly influential American author whose astonishing life proved even more fantastic than her popular novels of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Born to Christian missionaries in 1890s China, Buck’s writing helped change Western perceptions of that country forever; in recognition of which she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. 

The Incomplete Works of Dave McCabeThe Incomplete Works of Dave McCabe. By Nick Underwood. Dave is an aspiring singer-songwriter. When he gets a call asking him to MC at a folk festival, he’s reticent as the festival is run by his best friend’s dad, and he’s not spoken to his friend for six years. But when he discovers that folk goddess Lola Guthrie is headlining, he jumps at the chance. Dave is wild about Lola – this is the opportunity of a lifetime to meet his muse and woo her with a song. But he has a problem – he can’t get past his opening lines. Punctuating this romantic comedy are some memorable moments – a tango class in which Dave dances with an octogenarian soup chef; a disagreement over the ethics of selling a prize-winning pony to fund a music festival; and tenderly funny opening lines peppering the play with songs. 

arabian afternoonsArabian Afternoons. Contemporary plays inspired by tales from The Arabian Nights.

The Casper Logue Affair. A darkly comic thriller by Sebastian Baczkiewicz, set in Baghdad. Junior diplomat Bob Goldacre is in trouble: the American businessman he was looking after has vanished from a Baghdad street. As the suspects pile up, Goldacre is going to have his work cut out if he wants to save his career and make sure that justice is done. 
The Porter and the Three Ladies.  A wild, dark modern fairytale by Rachel Joyce, set in Damascus. The second in a series of contemporary plays inspired by stories from the Arabian Nights. It is time for Shahrazad to tell another tale to save her life. In this story within a story, we find out that if Joe doesn’t find the exclusive to satisfy his ruthless editor, he will lose his job. He finds three beautiful women in Damascus but what is the truth behind their secret life? 
A Dish of Pomegranates. By Peter Jukes. The third in a series of plays inspired by stories from the Arabian Nights. Shared roots and scattered families in the melting pot of modern Jerusalem. Tired after a stressful trip, Ajib is stopped by security officers as he tries to fly out of Ben Gurion airport on his way home to the U.S. They don’t think his story adds up. Can he make them believe him? And does he actually know the whole story himself?

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