Arbery: Drama and Fiction, Old and New
The Lumber Room & The Mouse

The Lumber Room & The Mouse

August 7, 2020

The Lumber Room & The Mouse

Is the Devil really speaking to young Nicholas from inside a rainwater barrel? And what would you do if a mouse were crawling around inside your clothes as you sat opposite an attractive stranger? Two humorous stories from H H Munro ('Saki' 1870-1916) read by Michael Robert-Brown.

Also from Michael Robert-Brown on Arbery Podcasts: A Terribly Strange Bed - a story of skullduggery in Victorian Paris - and The Slanderer & A Work of Art - two comic tales from Anton Chekhov. michaelrobertbrown.com

A Terribly Strange Bed

A Terribly Strange Bed

July 31, 2020

A Terribly Strange Bed

A young man wins a fortune in a disreputable gambling-house in Paris, gets drunk with an old soldier and then fears for his life. 

A short story from William Wilkie Collins, the author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone, originally published in 1852 in Household Words, a magazine edited by Charles Dickens. 

Read by Michael Robert-Brown.  michaelrobertbrown.com 

Also Michael Robert-Brown from Arbery Podcasts: two comic stories from Anton Chekhov: The Slanderer & A Work of Art

Title image: Konstantin Korovin 

Music: music4video

Death on the Lido

Death on the Lido

July 24, 2020

Death on the Lido

A 14-year-old boy is troubled - or is he fascinated? - by an old man who never stops watching him.

In Thomas Mann's 1912 novella Death in Venice (filmed in 1971 by Luchino Visconti) the ageing Gustav von Aschenbach becomes obsessed with the beauty of young Tadzio. Although the two never speak, a silent relationship grows between them, a relationship which persists as the old man's health fails and the city is beset by cholera.

Decades later Tadzio remembers that fateful summer. What went through the boy's mind when he realised what was happening? What impact did it have on his adult life? Finally, the silent youth speaks. 
Originally the title story in Martin Foreman's collection A Sense of Loss,  Death on the Lido was later adapted for the stage as Tadzio Speaks with Christopher Peacock ("deeply poetic" Views from the Gods). This audio version with John Vernon brings to life one of fiction's most memorable and least understood characters. 

A Sense of Loss and Tadzio Speaks can be ordered from Arbery Books

Martin Foreman's work appears in several Arbery podcasts on Podbean and elsewhere. martinforeman.com

Title painting: detail from Sir John Lavery: Bathing Hour, Lido, Venice

SFX: zapsplat.com and freesfx.co.uk

The Slanderer & A Work of Art

The Slanderer & A Work of Art

July 17, 2020

Anton Chekhov: The Slanderer & A Work of Art

The Slanderer: who has been telling tales about Sergey Kapitonlch Akhineyev's activities in the kitchen?

A Work of Art: what would you do with the gift of an erotic statuette?

Two short stories revealing Russian writer Anton Chekhov's comic side. Read by Michael Robert-Brown.  

michaelrobertbrown.com

Music: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 6 "Patethique" from classiccat.net

Can it wait till morning?

Can it wait till morning?

July 10, 2020

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 In the 1950s Peter Paterson-Brown became a general practitioner in a small town in the Scottish Borders. These three episodes are dramatised, by Oliver Cookson and Marilyn Imrie, from his diary of his experiences over the years.  

With Oliver Cookson as the doctor and Barbara Dickson as Nellie, Lady Hamilton and Hazel. 

Barbara Dickson has been a popular and best-selling singer-songwriter and actress since the 1970s, with many single and album hits. She is married to Oliver Cookson, a BBC director and occasional actor. Her website is barbaradickson.net

Now We Are Pope: Frederick Rolfe in Venice

Now We Are Pope: Frederick Rolfe in Venice

July 3, 2020

Now We Are Pope; Frederick Rolfe in Venice by Martin Foreman

26 October 1913  

Alone in his room in a palazzo in Venice on the last day of his life, writer Frederick Rolfe ("Baron Corvo") reflects on the past, his thoughts spiritual and carnal, his memories caustic and unforgiving. A devout Catholic, although hostile to those of that faith, he never forgets that he, like the hero of his most famous novel, Hadrian VII, should have been made Pope.  

Now We Are Pope draws on Rolfe's writings - both his fiction, which often depicted real people lightly disguised, and his letters, which included malicious gossip and explicit descriptions of sexual encounters. All the characters mentioned in the play were real, except Septimus Scaptia, who appears in an unfinished novel, and Jeremiah Sant, who plays a key role in Hadrian VII's life. Ermenegildo Vianello ("Zildo") was a young gondolier whom Rolfe met soon after he arrived in Venice.

The play was first presented in London and Edinburgh in 2014 with Christopher Annus as Rolfe. The playscript is available from Arbery Books

Sunset

Sunset

June 26, 2020

Sunset

At the end of the day, a grandmother looks back at her life from marriage to the present day. A virgin on her wedding night who becomes a reluctant mother with a philandering husband, a stay-at-home wife who in middle-age discovers business skills she never suspected, over decades this woman's emotions have been severely tested and sometimes rewarded.

Audio version of the one-woman by Martin Foreman, with Maggie Macleod, presented at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. "four stars", All Edinburgh Theatre.

An earlier version of this story, set in North America, is in First and Fiftieth and other stories; order online at Arbery Books.

Kitchen Table

Kitchen Table

June 19, 2020

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Kitchen Table

a short story by Martin Foreman (publd 2002)

read by Gordon Houston

A sixteen-year-old, his girlfriend, first sex, fatherhood and a whirlwind of emotions. Story originally published in First and Fiftieth and other stories, available from Arbery Books.

Ben and Joe’s

Ben and Joe’s

June 12, 2020

Ben and Joe's

Ben and Joe's

a short story by Martin Foreman (publd 2002)

read by John Vernon

In a bar in Los Angeles a group of middle-aged gay white men while away their afternoons until their lives are disrupted by the arrival of a young black man. Story originally published in First and Fiftieth and other stories, available from Arbery Books.

Night Traffic

Night Traffic

June 3, 2020

Night Traffic by Martin Foreman

Night Traffic  

a short story by Martin Foreman (2002)  

read by Gordon Houston  

A motorway service station in the middle of the night. A young man and his lover on their way from Edinburgh to seek a new life in London.  

Trial podcast from Arbery Productions: arberyproductions.co.uk/podcasts.htm. Published in "First and Fiftieth and other stories" from arberybooks.co.uk.

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