BBC Radio 4, 11 June 2012
It's summertime in the south coast resort of Warfleet-on-Sea, and Ken
(Alan Leith) and wife Peggy (Gwen Taylor) have come to attend the annual pigeon fanciers' convention. Alan is the kind of
person who gets pleasure from discussing the size of pigeons' eggs; Peggy tags along just because she happens to have been
married to him for nearly thirty-five years.
But this holiday turns out very different from the previous ones: while walking in
the town, Peggy visits a mysterious tea-room that serves scones with a "secret ingredient" and encounters Rumer (Louise Plowright),
a medium who promises to change her life. Initially sceptical about Rumer's powers, Peggy comes along to a seance, and finds
out to her cost that Rumer's predictions with the tarot cards come true. Peggy's life changes from then on; she no longer
plays second fiddle to her obsessive husband, but branches out on her own.
The Page of Wands is a wish-fulfilment drama, one in which Rumer acts as
narrator, inviting us to believe that she really does possess the power to predict the future. It doesn't really matter whether
she can or not; her seance prompts Peggy to make a major decision to reorient her life. Perhaps Rumer's only function
is to stimulate what lies at the back of her clients' minds; to try and make something of themselves. At the same time author
Carole Hayman captures something of life in a modern seaside town, where charming buildings exist alongside sleazy b&b's,
and drug-fuelled youths attack unsuspecting victims.
The director of this Afternoon Play was Paul Dudgeon.