Gazette

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LISTENING to an audio book or a play on your iPod is a novel way to pass the time commuting to work, if you don't mind the odd inquiring look from passers-by when you're lost in a particularly good story resulting in involuntary facial expressions.

And on offer from the Wireless Theatre Company this month is new audio play The Youth of Old Age starring Prunella Scales, written and directed by Stuart Price.

Scales plays bigoted Elizabeth Willem-Gracie who is willing to stage her own funeral to protect her rich family lineage.

When her grandson James (Knight Mantell) announces his imminent marriage to the love of his life, and future inheritor of the Willem-Gracie riches, Elizabeth gets to work with a character interrogation of the highest order.

It's a wonderfully witty and warm piece that tells its story with delicious intrigue and compelling characterisation.

Something akin to a modern-day Lady Macbeth with a naughty sense of humour, the scheming Elizabeth is a fantastic role for Scales to flaunt her talent for dark humour.

The remainder of the five-strong cast offers a sophisticated and layered portrayal of a story that is engaging, very funny, and ultimately moving.

Perfect for an hour of escapism (or you could ration yourself with bite-sized instalments), The Youth of Old Age is a fantastic alternative to the musical offerings of your iPod.

PEGGY NUTTALL

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