Cymbeline By William Shakespeare
Sunday 17 December 2006 19:00-21:30 (Radio 3)
Bill Wallis takes the title role in a new BBC Radio 3 production of one of Shakespeare's most rarely performed plays.
Cymbeline tells of the semi-legendary King's dealings with the Romans, the secret marriage of his daughter, Imogen, the cynical Iachimo's attempts on her chastity when her husband is banished, and the exiled Belarius, living in a cave at Milford Haven with the abducted sons of Cymbeline.
Producer Alison Hindell, the BBC's Head of Radio Drama, maintains that Cymbeline's feeling of "archetypal fairytale" is perfect for radio. "Its heightened elements, such as the discovery of a decapitated corpse, are hard to reproduce convincingly on stage," she says. "They can be conveyed more convincingly in pure sound."
Likewise, the frequent use of bird imagery in Shakespeare's text is reflected in the sound world of the production. Scenes set near Milford Haven were recorded on location in Wales, including on a Neolithic burial mound which served as Belarius's cave.
The cast also features Sian Phillips as the Queen, Nia Roberts as Imogen and William Houston (about to play Coriolanus for the RSC) as Posthumus.
The original music is composed by John Hardy, whose previous radio drama credits include In Parenthesis and The Sicilian Expedition for BBC Radio 3 and Under Milk Wood for BBC Radio 4.
2 hours 30 minutes
Cymbeline ...... Bill Wallis
Imogen ...... Nia Roberts
Posthumus ...... William Houston
Queen ...... Sian Phillips
Iachimo ...... Andrew Wincott
Cloten ...... Russell Gomer
Pisanio ...... Joseph Kloska
Belarius ...... Gareth Armstrong
Guiderius ...... Christian Shaw
Arviragus ...... Meilyr Sion
Caius Lucius ...... John Labanowski
Cornelius ...... Richard Elfyn
Philario ...... Dorien Thomas
Lady ...... Manon Edwards