BBC Radio 3, 26 June 2012
Oliver (Bill Nighy) is in a bad way. Having lost his job as a lawyer
after twenty-three years, he is quite literally at his wits' end, and decides to take refuge up a tree in a private residents'
garden. Desperate to see Jo, the love of his life (Amelia Bulmore), he will not contemplate coming down until he sees her;
and even then, his future prospects seem bleak, to say the least.
Pauline Harris' production looked at the male mid-life crisis, focusing on a man
who appeared to have it all, and then gives it away. Oliver won a substantial amount in the National Lottery, distributed
it to a variety of causes, both good and bad, and now has nothing. His relationship with Jo founders on his inability
to say what he really thinks. This is not really his fault: ever since he was a child, Oliver has been tormented by the experience
of seeing his mother go insane. Although some well-meaning residents (Brigit Forsyth, Maggie Fox) try to help him, the
only person who can really make a difference is Oliver himself. He has to overcome his hang-ups and try and win Jo's love
While the plot of this Afternoon Drama is a familiar one, it was rendered
compelling through Nighy's performance; throughout his career he has become adept at portraying mentally tortured souls, and
he did not disappoint here. There was really no other way for him to deal with his neurosis other than to return to his childhood
days and seek refuge from the world up a tree.