Gilbert Taylor, a recent recruit from the Drumfeld Players, continues to impress: in tonight’s recording, The Skulking Menace, he plays two characters: Colin Cruikshank, the blackmailer, and Craig Paterson, his hapless victim.
This improvisation has been necessitated by Duncan Forrester’s withdrawal from the Cruikshank role, an inconvenience attributed to the over-bearing influence of his mother: Mrs Forrester is troubled, apparently, by the frequency with which her son is being cast as a reprobate.
E.B. complains that Mrs Forrester’s opinions are becoming increasingly bothersome; last month she intervened to establish ‘sensible boundaries’ for a scene in which listeners might assume that a character played by Duncan was naked. (On that occasion the scene was rewritten in order that someone could admire his pyjamas.)
2. Correspondence: Pauline Beglin
A complaint has been received from the mother of Maurice Beglin, an actor who attended last month’s auditions. According to her version of events, Maurice, who is seventeen years old, was embarrassed as his recital was disrupted by snorts of laughter.
Paul Pettigrew, who supervised the audition, denies Mrs Beglin’s allegation but acknowledges “a certain awkwardness” as it became apparent that Maurice suffers from a speech impediment that caused him to “slurp” his way through his script (Griffin Reed’s ‘Pool at Pidgin’s Hollow’ – a ghost story rendered grotesque by the reader’s eccentric delivery.)
P.P. vehemently denies laughing but acknowledges that another actor (waiting to audition) was overwhelmed by subdued hilarity, emitting cola through his nostrils – a distraction from which Maurice failed to recover
Maurice has subsequently (and predictably) been offered a place with the Cutting Edge group, but complains that his enthusiasm for acting has waned (a natural consequence of the idiocies he will encounter in his new environment.)
The committee is unanimous in rejecting Mrs Beglin’s suggestion that Maurice is owed an apology: at seventeen years old, he should be aware of his own limitations. As a gesture of goodwill, though, he will be sent a screen printed Soon Comes Night t-shirt and a signed copy of Shade MacFarlane’s memoir.
According to this morning’s correspondence, ‘a line was crossed’ by a storyline in which ‘Rob McAskill’ (a fictional version of the breakfast show host) became clinically depressed – apparently stricken by “the horrible realisation of his own uselessness.”
The most recent episode concluded with the false McAskill perched on a ledge while listeners gathered in the street below, encouraging him to jump: a cliff-hanger for which I.G. has proposed three possible denouements, only one of which offers redemption.
4. An Apology
Linda Fairclough has explained her absence from Friday’s Mystery Supper: an anonymous allegation has caused her to be investigated by the Department of Work and Pensions. (C.F. receives benefits for a depressive illness which the correspondent, presumably, thinks bogus. Her involvement with the Players was apparently cited in the complaint.)
In recent weeks, Rupert Dawes has been subjected to similar scrutiny: his investigation was also prompted by a public-spirited (but nameless) informer, a coincidence that causes members of the committee to suspect the proximity of a ‘snitch’.