Strong of will and slender of ankle, 20-year-old orphan Flora Poste is blessed with every virtue save that of being able to earn her own living. Casting around for suitable relatives with whom she can make her home, Flora alights on the mysterious Starkadders and, ignoring the horrified shrieks of her friends, heads down to darkest Sussex.
There she is confronted by an exceptionally odd cast of characters: grief-stricken Judith, fervently religious Amos, the lusty smouldering Seth, wild and mysterious Elfine and, of course, the invisible tyrant Great Aunt Ada Doom who saw something nasty in the woodshed. Many would be overcome by the simmering passions of the Starkadder family, but not Flora. All they need is a little organising.
Stella Gibbons' deliciously witty parody has been delighting readers since 1932 and retains its original sunny charm in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation.
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"There is NO BUTTER in Hell......."
"Leave me alone to my loneliness"
Even though abridged, it was true to the book and every character had a marvelous reader. It was like listening to an extraordinary radio performance that my grandparents enjoyed back in the 30's, only much more elaborate with sound effects and crystal clear sound. I wish I had this to share with my grandmother during the last ten years of her life when she lost most of her sight due to glaucoma.
I was tickled with the names of everything from last names, towns, pub and Adam's cows. That Flora didn't flee after her first night after meeting her scary cousin Judith and seeing decades of filth and neglect. Also, her snobbery faded quickly after the first day and she became a likeable character that dealt well with each of these wonderful, complex characters.
I also loved the full cast, the farm noise background and sound effects. The rude barkeep "here's your spoon," and you here a spoon hitting a table. Rueben slurping his first proper cup of tea. When Flora lets the bull out...oh, everyone is shouting in the background about the bull.They spared nothing and gave everything. It's wonderful.
The hullabulu when Flora, Elfine and Seth came back from Dick Hawke-Monitor's party, where he proposed to Elfine. Amos announces he is hitting the road in a Ford to spread his special brand of preaching to save the Godless sinners. Elfine announces she is engaged and that sends Urk into a fit because she was promised his when she was an infant. Adam goes into a fit because his daughter Elfine is engaged. Urk decides he'll take another cousin there for a bride (a dirt crusted one to match his dirt crusted self) and suggests they both go outside and "sink into the mud together." Aunt Ada Doom goes into a granddaddy fit about "there's always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort." And "your leaving me to die alone in the nasty woodshed!" Dishes are clattering and hitting the floor, feet stomping and shuffling the floor. I think some chairs topple over. It's noisy and fun, and hilarious.
I also like the scene when the film producer Mr.Neck comes over and he offers to make Seth a "film star." Cousin Judith has a over the top fit that even impresses Mr.Neck. Aunt Ada is shouting out of her window, repeating "I saw something nasty in the woodshed". Mr.Neck replies, "did it see you?"
"Mybug" telling Flora about his theory behind the Bronte Sisters being secret drunks and not the authors of their books. Especially funny about "Mybug's" theory how Wuthering Heights was written. It's hard to pick one specific favorite scene. They are all terrific.
Under Milk Wood (Dramatised) Dylan Thomas with Richard Burton has a full cast and has excellent sound quality. I highly recommend it.
- Betty "diverduck"