HENRY REED - the other plays

1951 The Battle of Trafalgar (T.Hardy, dram)
1953 Return to Naples
A Meeting in Rome
The Great Desire I Had
The Streets of Pompeii
The Monument
1955 Vincenzo, R3
c1959 The Blackbird's Song


By Muriel Levy (music by Henry Reed), Home Service. No other information.

"s-j" of 'radiofans' has contributed the following:


BBC Third Programme, Tuesday 29th March 1955.

On March 29th, 1955, the BBC's Third Programme broadcast for the first time Henry Reed's radio play, "Vincenzo". The play, advertised as a "tragi-comedy," was something of a prequel to Reed's 1952 "The Great Desire I Had". Both plays recount episodes in the life of Duke Vincenzo I of Gonzaga, patron of the arts and ruler of the Italian Duchy of Mantua from 1587 to 1612.

The play traces Vincenzo's life from his eighteenth year until his death in 1612, framed in "choric narration" spoken by his wives and mistresses.

With Hugh Burden [Vincenzo Gonzaga, Prince of Mantua], Newton Blick [The Duke of Mantua, Vincenzo's Father], Mary O'Farrell [The Duchess, Leonora of Austria, Vincenzo's Mother], Margaretta Scott [Barbara Sanseverino, Countess of Sala], Rachel Gurney [Ippolita Torelli], Barbara Couper [Agnese del Caretto], Marjorie Westbury [Adriana Basile], Molly Lawson [Elena], Gwen Cherrell [Margherita Farnese, Vincenzo's First Wife], Glyn Dearman [Ranuccio, Margherita's brother, as a boy], Derek Hart [Ranuccio, as a Man], Neville Hartley [Carlo Borromeo], Barbara Lott [Eleanora dé Medici, Vincenzo's Second Wife], Norman Shelley [Francesco dé Medici, Eleanora's Father], Gladys Young [Bianca Cappello, Francesco's Second Wife], Denise Bryer [Silvio Gonzaga], Frank Duncan [Gianfrancesco Sanvitale], Robert Marsden [Marcello Donati], and Cecile Chevreau [A Florentine Mother].

The music was arranged by Denis Stevens from the work of Mantuan composers of the period, including Claudio Monteverdi, the Italian master who was Stevens' particular passion. Monteverdi's patron was none other than Duke Vincenzo.

Produced by Douglas Cleverdon.

Mini-Review: The London Times called the play "splendidly acted," and "the happiest association of playwright and players" (March 31, 1955, p. 10).

In this play, Reed escorts Shakespeare to five different Italian cities.

Reed takes his younger self, 'H', to the same city five times.

    Henry Reed's nostalgic post-war play in which James McKechnie is the narrator. The cast includes Derek Hart, later to make his name as a presenter on the television Tonight programmes.

    McKechnie was involved with the 'Flying Doctor' series, which older readers may remember.

At the climax of the play Reed give the two selves of Giacomo Leopardi, man and boy, a vision of the cities which have meant so much to him.

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