Tuesday, 29 January 2013

My thoughts on Les Miserables and the statement: “Radio is called a medium because it is rare that anything is well done"

I absolutely, utterly and profoundly disagree with that, Fred Allen, whoever you are (and I don't care.) Reading it made me choke on my golden syrup pancake.

Take Les Miserables, as a topical example.

 Well, I haven't seen the stage musical and have yet to see the movie, though I might because I'm always interested in Oscar nominations. Added to that, the child Cosette, Isabelle Allen, lives a few miles away from me and I was fascinated to read how she came by the role. (She DOES bear a remarkable resemblance to the iconic poster image...which was one of the reasons she was spotted in a school play.)

I've read the book. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. (People seem to forget it is a book!)

HOWEVER...at the moment, it's being serialised on BBC Radio4 Extra - again - with the incomparable Roger Allam as Jean Valjean (although he played Javert in the original London stage production.)

So, on Sunday, in bed, very early in the morning, I was revelling in the omnibus edition. I managed to keep listening - just - while Fantine has her teeth pulled in order to raise money to support Cosette, but then, when Jean Valjean (in the persona of Mayor Madeleine) decides to reveal his identity in order to save an innocent man arrested in his place... I got so distressed that I had to turn the radio off.

That was a performance by an actor that tore my soul apart. It happens quite often in radio drama.

"Rare that anything is well done" on the radio?