Tilting the Odds by Clara Glynn

Contact Us

Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 13 June 2013
The second in a series of plays under the umbrella title Behind Closed Doors, Tilting the Odds focused on a vet, Falco Hermans (Gunnar Cauthery) hauled up in front of a disciplinary committee for professional misconduct.  Having built up a successful practice in the horse-racing town of Newmarket, he has now been charged with not being concerned with the welfare of the horses he tends.
What was perhaps most interesting about this play was its focus not on the horses themselves, but on the world of horse-racing; outwardly glamorous, financially lucrative for those who are successful (for example, the late lamented trainer Henry Cecil), but also involving a delicate balance of interests.  Sometimes financial rewards assume more importance than the horses themselves, especially for those involved in running stables and depending for their patronage on rich donors.  Falco came across as a good man, dedicated to his work, who nonetheless found himself a victim of these interests.  I hasten to use the term "innocent victim": he knew what he was doing.  But perhaps he failed to realize the full consequences of his actions.
The courtroom aspect of this drama was contrasted with the personal lives, both of Falco and his counsel Rebecca Nyman (Claire Rushbrook).  Sometimes it was difficult for both of them to find a balance between personal and professional existences.  This is perhaps what drove Falco on to make some of the decisions he made: Rebecca, on the other hand, endeavoured as much as possible to keep both aspects of her life in proportion, however difficult it might be.
The play ended with a surprising twist, which proved the point about keeping one's professional ambitions in perspective, especially vis--vis one's personal life.  The director was David Ian Neville.