Radio drama does for conservation what the Archers did for agriculture
Suffice to say that it is a drama with contemporary nuances and resonances well beyond the average. There are a lot of ideas jostling, including original, slightly new-age music by Michael Somerset Ward and Rebecca Hearne. Along with the drama, there are interludes of poetry of an original and borderline spiritual nature read by Christine Kavanagh. And it’s all recorded on-site at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, with real reserve volunteers providing a background hubbub as they count the species in the biodiversity survey and huddle around a plate of crisps and sandwiches.
Sometimes there were just too many threads and it was hard to follow, but the beauty of the production took it all away with an immersive natural soundscape of salty winds, gentle rain, whispering reed beds and rich meadows. butterflies by Strumpshaw Fen, masterfully put together by producer Boz Temple-Morris and sound engineer Alisdair McGregor.
Although for all of its originality, Waters’ original pitch was right: it’s very similar to The Archers. I’m pretty sure at least one of the employees at Fleggwick, Tam or Kay, is remotely related to a Grundy, and even Okonedo, a versatile radio actress, seemed to channel capable Debbie Aldridge to an almost frightening extent. .
Rylance, however, was in a class of his own, making you completely forget that he’s Mark Rylance; at one point I was sure he must have been one of RSPB’s true volunteers, both his portrayal of a dedicated conservation worker who cares more about nature than anything else. other was convincing.