Radio Picks of the Week

By Stephanie Billen





Drama on 3: The Dance of Death (Sunday, Radio 3, 7.30pm) presents Conor McPherson’s sparkling version of Strindberg’s classic with an excellent cast making the most of the script’s absurdist humour. The Captain (Robert Glenister) and his wife Alice (Hattie Morahan) are trapped in a vicious relationship that becomes even more toxic after Alice’s cousin, Kurt (Blake Ritson), arrives to dredge up painful memories. The Captain, who has heart problems, jigs wildly to Alice’s piano accompaniment, but their marriage itself is like a dance of death. As Kurt suggests: “Maybe this is hell and part of the agony is that we don’t even realise it.” Lady Killers With Lucy Worsley (Monday, Radio 4, 11.30am) returns with the gripping true story of Christiana Edmunds, a Victorian woman who became obsessed with a married doctor and tried to kill his wife with a poisoned chocolate. Although she survived, the complicated murder plot resulted in the death of a small child and caused mayhem in Brighton where Edmunds laced multiple chocolate creams with strychnine in order to frame the local confectioner. As we learn of the poisoner’s fate, Worsley speculates on her mental state, asking how she might have fared in today’s world. “We destroy the things we love,” suggests Deacon (Don Warrington) as he drifts in from the nether world to help a lonely widower (Ram John Holder) who is determined to talk to his dead wife, Mavis (Sutara Gayle). Deacon: A Reckoning (Tuesday, Radio 4, 2.15pm) finds the supernatural drama by Edson Burton as intriguing as ever with Mavis’s eventual arrival and aggrieved testimony bringing a contemporary twist to this agonising story. Venezuelan dancer and Strictly star Karen Hauer celebrates the life-affirming musical career of the percussionist and bandleader Tito Puente in The Documentary (Saturday, World Service, 12.06pm). In a pulsating programme featuring tributes from singer-songwriter Steve Winwood and percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, we travel back to his alldancing childhood and journey through six decades of Latin musicmaking including the New York mambo craze of the 1950s. Tito Puente Junior assures us that his father lives on: “When I perform his music, it’s like he’s on stage with us…”