Painter, musician, bibliophile...
I got the whole season. In a state of overwork and fraught nerves, I wanted nothing more than to escape into some light hilarity. This series, for the most part, provided that admirably, although it gets a bit stale as it moves toward Season 7.
The British take the mickey out of the usual suspects. Satan says, "Screaming always sounds better in German, don't you think?" (Something to do with waiting for the verb). The French, oh, the French! And of course, the Americans don't escape unscathed. Then it's time to turn on one's own with lots of topical UK snark on pop culture, politics, and sport.
You'll meet the all-too-good professor. And Thomas, the most evil thing ever to emerge from Godalming. (Well, as yet). But the devil is the star-turn, of course, and he is quite a bit more lovable that you might have imagined.
I feel better now. Maybe you will too after you spend a season in hell with the deranged Andy Hamilton and his impish minions.
Olivier plays Comte de Merret in Balzac's "La Grande Bretêche," a dark story of a man who takes a practical step toward putting an end to his wife's adultery.
In the second play, he is Renardet, 'Monsieur le Maire,' in de Maupassant's "Little Louise." When a young girl is found murdered, the citizens of Carvelin demand revenge.
Finally, Robert Morley plays the eponymous "Dr Knock" to comic effect in Jules Romains' satire of medicine.
Once again, the uneven sound quality is my only complaint.
Laurence Olivier plays the protagonist in both of these mini-plays adapted from French stories. Both are old-fashioned, even quaint, tales of their times.
In Balzac's "The Purse," he is successful painter Hyppolyte Schinner. When the artist suffers an accident, he is helped by a lovely young girl and her mother who seem ideal in every way. But as time goes on, he becomes suspicious of both.
The subject of Dumas' "Zodmirsky's Duel" is self-evident, although the outcome isn't.
The sound levels in the Theatre Royal series leave something to be desired. The spoken parts are fine and then, all of a sudden, dramatic ear-splitting brass or shrieking string music breaks the spell. Yes, that is the dramatic style of the old radio dramas, but what I have a problem with is the intensity of the extreme contrast in volume between the spoken and the musical.
If you can bear with the above, you'll not find better actors in the classic radio archive. But I wouldn't suggest listening to these plays with earphones if you value your hearing.