Thursday, 30 January 2014

Radio Review: The Oresteia – The Furies / November Dead List

“Was he driven to it by someone's rage?"

Last up in the reinvention of Aeschylus’ Oresteia is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s take on The Furies, bringing this tale of murder, revenge and justice to an end as the gods opt to end the vicious cycle of blood vengeance by introducing the concept of trial by jury and instituting the first ever homicide trial. 

Niamh Cusack’s perfectly modulated tone makes for an engaging narrator, Lesley Sharp has the intensity and ferocity of a thunderstorm as the vitriolic Clytemnestra, and Maureen Beattie, Polly Hemingway and Carolyn Pickles are intimidatingly malevolent as the Furies, determined to get their revenge on Will Howard's Orestes. His defender comes in the form of Chipo Chung's Athena, who spots the chance to change the way humans sort out their grievances yet still has to battle against the established order. It's an interesting story but something in this production didn't quite gel for me in the way the previous two parts of the trilogy did, possibly due to the use of a narrator, something I'm rarely keen on.

It’s no secret that I like me some Nicola Walker and so seeing her take the lead in Nick Perry’s radio drama November Dead List was definitely a thrill. It was the 15 minute drama of the week, five short episodes split across five days which I always find a little annoying so the omnibus edition was infinitely more preferable (it can also be downloaded from here). A police procedural in which Walker plays a DI called in to investigate a murder which was seemingly predicted on a dead list, normally a list of deceased parishioners in a Catholic congregation but in this case, full of people who are still alive.

Soundtracked by the moody tones of Portishead’s Roads, it proved a rather effective police procedural as the race against time seems compromised by someone close to the case. From Kent wetlands to an Irish seminary and back again, Walker’s DI Flood is an utterly determined cop, at the expense of a personal life, and so the unexpected chemistry with Paul Ready’s Father Manu – who found the list - is a surprise to all but yet really well done in creating a palpable relationship in which one really invests. Lots of fun.

No comments: