As I listen to British radio plays on Audible, I pretend I am walking the streets of London, hearing familiar voices intoning the accent – and laughing out loud with a favorite British author. The plays are short enough to hear in a sitting – or, if I am motivated, on a short walk.
Say Something Happened
Alan Bennett’s short radio play on Audible – Say Something Happened – confronts the same difficult topic in audio as Roz Chast attacked in cartoon form in Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
June Potter, a trainee social worker, visits an elderly couple to collect information for a government survey on old people. Of course, the couple have their own opinions on being old, and turn the tables on June, offering her advice on how to improve her life. A few sad moments reveal their relationship with their children, and when June asks who would take care of them – say something happened – it’s clear they only have each other. June’s solution to the problem is hilarious in its typical government approach.
With Bennett’s flair for humor, this short piece will have you laughing and crying, as he addresses the dilemma of growing old.
Related Review: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
The Country Wife
This seventeenth century Restoration play by William Wycherley has Maggie Smith playing the title heroine, with wry asides and bawdy humor. Listening to the subtle innuendo, it’s easy to imagine her in a role she made famous on the British stage as Mrs. Margery Pinchwife.
Harry Horner, a rakish bachelor, pretends to be impotent to gain the trust of his fellows and access to their wives. When newlywed Margery Pinchwife comes on the scene, the action gets fast and furious with disguises and fast exits – as funny as a Marx Bothers movie. Margery is dissatisfied with her stuffy husband, and tries for a second husband. You need to listen carefully to catch all the complicated twists, but, even if you miss a few, Maggie Smith will keep your attention.