Friday, 30 September 2011

The Deserted Daughter - radio style

Last night I went to Bury St Edmunds (again!) to see another play in the Theatre Royal's 'Restoring The Repertoire' script-in-hand strand. This one was The Deserted Daughter, written by Thomas Holcroft in 1795, and was performed slightly differently to previous rehearsed readings.

As ever, the cast had only got together at 10 o'clock that morning to read through the script for the first time and did fantastically well.

The difference this season is that the plays are being recorded so that a wider audience can listen to some of these forgotten Georgian gems. This is fabulous news for those of us who would like to be able to have a taste of the sort of entertainment available in the Georgian & Regency era. As radio drama, it worked very well. The actors really concentrated on the words and the language and put everything into their voices.


But to begin with it felt ... odd. It was peculiar watching the players talk into their own microphones instead of interacting with each other. I think it was a bit strange for the actors too - having to direct their voices to the mics when their natural instinct was to play to the audience.

They did incredibly well, and quickly found a happy medium where they could look at each other - and us - and still record. In a lot of ways, the radio style suits Thomas Holcroft who - as co-director Colin Blumenau says - never uses one word where ten will do. The characters are sufficiently different that it is easy to tell who is who and the stage business was suggested by scuffles and distance-from-microphone.

So all in all another triumph. Well done, team. Looking forward to the next one!

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