BBC Radio 4, 20 April 2012
Layla (Katherine Parkinson) has just broken up with her married lover
Ben (Simon Bubb), and goes out on a date with Noah (Carl Prekopp), a young man whom she has discovered on the internet. This
is a bad move, as Noah turns out to be an obsessive who stalks Layla's every move, phoning her repeatedly at home and at work,
and watching her apartment at all hours of the day and night.
However Layla herself proves equally obsessive; she cannot accept the fact that Ben
has jilted her, and keeps calling him to arrange a rendezvous. Ben rejects her offers, and chooses instead to return to his
marriage with Layla's sister Amy (Victoria Inez Hardy).
Dawn King's two-pronged study of obsession is conducted entirely through telephone
conversations, either on land-lines or mobiles. This method of communication gives the callers a feeling of power over the
recipients: they can hang up at will, or call the person as many times as they like. Meanwhile the unfortunate recpients become
more and more nervous; they feel they cannot go anywhere without being stalked - especially as their tormentors can use both
landlines and mobiles.
Each telephone conversation in the play was prefaced by different ringtones, depending
on who was making the call. As we heard the tones ringing repeatedly, we understood how the recipients felt - even before
they answered the phone, they dreaded the fact that it might be their respective tormentors calling once again. The calls grew more and more frenzied as the action unfolded, leading to a violent denouement, as
Layla and Noah finally met once more, while Ben overheard their conversation through the phone receiver.
Katharine Parkinson and Carl Prekopp were quite outstanding in the leading roles:
Parkinson's Layla tried to live a normal life, but found herself quite unable to adjust to life without Ben. The fact of Noah's
stalking her made her mental condition that much worse. Prekopp's Noah cut rather a pathetic figure with his protestations
of love; it was evident that he was suffering from acute loneliness. It was part of the play's tragedy that he found someone
who could not endure his affections.
The director of this spell-binding yet uncomfortable piece was Jessica Dromgoole.