“His impulse is to run away, but there’s nowhere to run to”
Philip Larkin is well known as a poet but fresh out of university at Oxford, he wrote two novels, both of which have been dramatized for Radio 4 into hour-long dramas. First up was Jill, adapted by Robin Brooks, a rites of passage tale of the experiences of introverted Huddersfield boy John Kemp as he is thrust into university life also at Oxford – Larkin clearly drawing on personal experiences to paint a gorgeously sensitive portrayal of a young man struggling to come to terms with his place in this world and following his journey into a more seasoned maturity.
Fiona McAlpine’s production works so well mainly due to the pitch-perfect casting of Samuel Barnett as Kemp, the main figure and narrator of much of the story. His melodious voice – always sounding one part on the verge of wonder, one part matter-of-fact honesty – is well suited to radio, full of character and conveying much of the social discomfort of a man both languishing out of his milieu in terms of class and dealing with the intensity of first-flush homosexual longings for his roommate, the charismatic scoundrel Christopher Warner, into whose elevated societal orbit he finds himself locked. Continue reading “Review – A Larkin Double, Radio 4”