Angel Maker by Carina Adler

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Saturday Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 7 December 2013
Of such stuff all soap operas are made.  Lili (Anamaria Marinca) an émigré from Hungary, falls in love with affluent Jew Sam (Adam Levy).  They meet first before the outbreak of World War Two, and re-encounter one another in the early Fifties.  Lili moves into Sam's house with daughter Rosie (Ashley Ogden), but finds herself marginalized in polite London society.  Sam loves her, but treats her as little more than a live-in lover, without thinking of marrying her.  How can he: his family object to the idea of his marrying beneath him, despite the fact that Lili is a fellow-Jew.  Matters become more complicated when Lili's husband Jean (Edward Akrout), turns up out of the blue ...
The title Angel Maker is a euphemism used by Lili to describe the act of abortion; in thematic terms it also refers to the idealism Lili retained, even though circumstances did not seem to work in her favour.  Although conscious of her outsider status, she had a basic faith in the future - especially with Sam - that proved quite refreshing, especially when contrasted with the cynicism of those closest to her, including Sam himself, his sister Rebecca (Rosina Carbone), and Lili's best friend Julia (Harriet Chandler Judd), who has to endure an unhappy marriage to a philandering husband.
While Carina Adler's play embraced mid-Fifties attitudes towards abortion and "living in sin," it did not really conjure up an authentic period atmosphere, despite the use of period music.  Perhaps the cast's accents seemed just too contemporary - especially those of Levy and Carbone.  Nonetheless Charlotte Riches' production proved agreeable entertainment.