Neverwhere: My Own Journey to London Below

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The BBC Radio 4 production of Neverwhere has been something more than a well performed radio drama for me as I listened to each episode through the iPlayer this week on my iPad.  With each actor and actress giving their performance, they didn’t say their lines for entertainment – they grabbed my arm just after I came in from work and took me to London Below.

Images and the Theatre of My Mind

While the episode played, there was an accompanying photograph of each actor/actress that served as a reminder that I had invited these guests into my flat meaning I had to be on my best behaviour. Especially when the last two episode featured the images of Hunter (Sophie Okondeo) and Door (Natalie Dormer), this felt like I had to make sure the flat was clean before I played the episodes.

Some the scenes were powerful enough to have an effect on me. One scene was the merriment of Richard Mayhew (James McAvoy) and Door from drinking the 40,000 year old wine from Atlantis, that wine must be potent stuff because I felt my checks flush and even giggle as little (while Hunter gives a disapproving looks).

The scene where the Earl of Earl’s Court (Christopher Lee) knighting Richard went picture perfect in the theatre of my mind and was in better resolution than any TV screen could project. Of course, the whole production was played perfectly in my mind and the set changes went flawlessly.

Even Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar (Anthony Head and David Schofield) whose professionalism in their work made me devilishly smile at their performance, making believe that if I needed help to do away with someone those two would be the perfect pair.

Solace at Black Friars

I also found solace from the Abbot of the Black Friars (George Harris) and Brothers Fuliginous (Don Gilet). I had learned something from my work that upset me, the news (I will not be going into the details as it is a personal matter) made me feel that I had become forgotten in the workplace. When I played the episode, it wasn’t the word spoken rather the tone of their voices for ‘holy men’ that made me forget the news. I even found myself making fresh split green pea soup to calm myself down.Of course, the issue remains though I feel more confident to deal with it in my more relaxed state. If the problem becomes unsolvable then I may ask Door for a forward address so I can engage the services of one Mr Croup and one Mr Vandemar.

Forgotten – No.

On the subject of forgotten, there was another item that I had nearly forgotten to do, something that I should have done decades ago. If it wasn’t for the little talks after each performance with Dirk Maggs who really put in the effort and giving a little background on his work, I would have not been able to pass on my thanks to the man. It had dawned on me, then, that he had been behind not only this but other radio performances that had entertained me so much and I had never thanked the man for it. Though with today’s technology, I was able to do so and make up for lost time by supporting them.

It is too easy for many of us to get drawn into the world and although the actors and actress make it believable, we should be remembering that there was someone behind it all and many others that help bring these performances to live.

The show even prompted to get back to writing this nearly forgotten blog.

Admission

I am opening the doors to the theatre of my mind as there is an admission to a private encore three and a half hour performance with chats to one of the creators in-between episodes.

So, I shall now leave you and hope you go on your own journey to London Below.

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