Reviewed by Jo Hardy
This was an unique experience for me, an audio only streaming of the autobiographical play “Angela”written by Mark Ravenhill. All too often I spend my evenings with the tv on while at the same time looking at my iPad checking messages or playing games, not giving my full attention to anything. For this event I took myself into another room, settled down comfortably and focused my mind on the audio play. While listening I could really use all my imagination to conjure up a visual in my head of all the characters and scenes. It’s a long time since I’ve done anything like this and I really enjoyed it. It was proper “me time” and a true escape.
I don’t want to give away too much but the story starts with a phone conversation between the main character Angela and her son Mark. It is sadly apparent from this short conversation that Angela has some problems with her memory and sometimes forgot she had a son. The story continues with Angela’s memories from her life starting with her growing up but the memories are mixed with bits of reality and some fantasy,which is an indication of her confused mind. There were also hints of Angela’s health problems and maybe some depression. Parts of the play were introduced by some surreal sounding music which gave a feeling of Angela’s mind drifting in and out of memories. I got a good impression of a confused mind but cleverly the story of her life was still easy to follow, and I could identify key events that had shaped her life. There is lots of emotion, some angry outbursts and upsetting personality changes but the love of a family was evident throughout.
The main characters are played by Pam Ferris (who I remember most from Darling Buds of May) Matti Houghton (Call the Midwife), Joseph Millson (Granchester), Jackson Laing (The Boy in the Dress) and BAFTA winner Toby Jones with supporting actors who all play multiple characters Raj Ghatak, Olivier Huband, Alexandra Mathie, Kirsty Stuart.
Available 26th and 28th March and 1st and 2nd April at 7pm apart from 28th March which is 4pm the audio performance was made possible by support from creative Scotland in association with Naked Productions and BBC Radio 3. It is available to download from lyceum.org.uk. From £15 for a single listener, this is the first of eight audio productions which will be available every month from late March. Eight show packages are also available. Whilst a streaming can never give you the same thrill you get from attending a live show, with a running time of 90 minutes, on a cold wet day this was a lovely way to support the arts who have been hit so badly throughout the pandemic. There is a 15 minute interval so you can get yourself a drink just like when you go to a real theatre. An extra feature is a post show talk, the first one given by the writer Mark Ravehill then by the director and cast members after the other performances.