In Belgrade back in 2002 a promoter suggested that Stan’s Cafe were the only theatre company he could imagine adapting for the stage his favourite book. Obviously as soon as we got home I ran out and ordered copy and for almost a decade the thing has sat beside my bed reminding me of that compliment/challenge. A year ago enough finally became enough and we started tentatively talking to promoters about this crazy adaptation. Described by some, including Philip Pullman, as the best book ever written, the thing is almost four hundred years old, the paperback resembles a stubby house brick in dimensions and the Folio Society edition runs to three volumes. I’ve secretly been excited by the way the thing is balanced between obscurity and notoriety. On Tuesday I was moving things up a level with a prestigious promoter with that as one of the lures and on Thursday bloody Melvyn Bragg broadcasts a half hour documentary about the thing on Radio 4. Obviously being the subject of an edition of In Our Time hardly bequeaths popular culture status on anything, but even so it’s a bit galling.
So I’d just like to state here and now for the record – we’re looking at this Despite not Because of Melvyn Bragg (though his program has helped quite a bit with our research).