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Noel Coward Murder Mysteries by Marcy Kahan – #5 – Our Man In Jamaica

15/07/2020

Malcolm Sinclair stars as Noel Coward; Eleanor Bron as Lorn Loraine his devoted secretary; with Tam Williams as Cole Lesley as his valet, in Marcy Kahan’s quintet of biographical comedies for radio.

Biographical comedy, by Marcy Kahan. Reconciled to being out of fashion, Noel Coward is determined to finish his first novel, until his neighbour Ian Fleming sets him an espionage challenge. Producer/Director Gordon House Ian Fleming: Nicholas Farrell Marlene Dietrich: Alison Pettitt Shrafft: Kerry Shale

Another tall tale involving Noel Coward (Malcolm Sinclair), this time taking place in Jamaica at the time of Fidel Castro’s revolution during the late 1950s. This time Coward was involved in an a complex espionage scheme which involved him giving a speech on ‘the future of the London theatre’ to the Middlebrow Group, comprised mostly of aficionados and home workers, including secret code-words. No one could understand in the least what he was saying, but at least the speech provided an excuse for Ian Fleming (Nicholas Farrell) to show off his love of espionage. Contrast this attitude with that of Coward himself; in spite of his involvement in this scheme, he cared little now for a life of adventure, preferring instead to remain cooped up in his Jamaican eyrie, attended by his devoted secretary Lorne Lorraine (Eleanor Bron). Our Man in Jamaica was perhaps the most preposterous of the Noel Coward mystery series – a prolix pastiche of James Bond, with Coward keeping the stiffest of stiff upper lips, while being out-phlegmatized by the British agent Atkinson (Peter Donaldson, taking a well-earned rest from his Radio 4 announcing duties). In a sense the play was not really about Coward at all, but rather a meditation on Englishness – its virtues (sang-froid, calmness) and its vices (foolhardiness). The director was Gordon House.

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