Simon Armitage Radio Plays

28.08.04 The Odyssey (90+90+60m)


The last time I heard this story, it was the Arthur Quiller- Couch version, and what a superb dramatization it was.

But Simon Armitage has done his work well, and the production and casting were excellent.

After 20 years away the Gods decide that it's time for Odysseus to return to Ithaca where his wife still waits. She is beautiful, and it's not surprising that she's besieged by suitors, who all think her husband is dead. Both she and her son Telemachus want to get rid of the suitors, who are after her and her property, but they can't think of a way to do it. Then one of the gods intervenes and suggests a way out for Telemachus.

The tale is too well known for me to say much more, but it's a cracking yarn, and the 4 hours passed very quickly.

Odysseus was played by Tim McInnerney, Penelope by Amanda Redman, and the rest of the cast were excellent too: not a weak link between them. For the record, they were: Benedict Cumberbatch, Janet McTeer, John Wood, Mary Wimbush, Bertie Carvel, Geoffrey Whitehead, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Hart, Adjoa Andoh (playing Odysseus's lover, Calypso), Barry Rutter ( the Cyclops - a frightening radio portrayal - perhaps owing a little to The Lord of the Rings), Danny Webb, Jonathan Keeble, Chris Pavlo, Ewan Bailey, John Rowe, Stephen Hogan, Philip Fox, Jon Glover. Gary Yershon wrote the score, and the director was Janet Whitaker.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

Asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections

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