Demon Brother by Matthew Broughton

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC  Radio 4, 22-23 January 2014
This disturbing thriller about twins began with Jasper (Shaun Dingwall) discovering a dark secret about his past; that he has a twin brother Eddie (also played by Dingwall) whom he has never met.  After the funeral of their father, the brothers decided to meet; and after an initial moment of suspicion, they exchanged their lives.  Jasper went back to Eddie's seedy bedsit to share life with Nancy (Vera Filatova), a barperson married to gangster Terry (Simon Ludders), while Eddie moved into Jasper's marital home to spice up Jasper's failing marriage to Caitlin (Valerie Kane).
Initially it seemed as if the play's moral scheme was well-defined: Jasper cast himself as the "good" brother, working in a museum, while trying to eke out an existence, while Eddie was the representative of "evil," having spent time in prison and continuing to associate with members of the criminal underworld.  As James Robinson's two-part production unfolded, however, such assumptions were subject to increasing scrutiny: Jasper kept referring to the "demon" that killed his father, while revealing a demoniacal side to his nature, while Eddie turned out to be both pragmatic and calculating - far more so than his twin brother.
In thematic terms, we might assume that Broughton was interested in looking at the two sides of human nature and how they perpetually conflict with one another.  But I think this is too facile: he seemed far more interested in investigating what the "demon" that allegedly killed the twins' father actually was.  Was it something external, or merely a projection of Jasper and Eddie's imaginations? 
In this intriguingly structured pair of plays, the action was the same but viewed from different perspectives.  The first looked at events from Jasper's point of view; the second from Eddie's.  Through this strategy we understood how the twins were inextricably linked in more ways than one - especially at the end of each play, where a cataclysmic event changed their lives for ever.
A disturbing, sonically rich piece of work, performed by an excellent cast, including Dingwall, Kane, with Kenneth Cranham in support.