BBC Radio 4 Extra, 15 February 2014
In Abigail le Fleming's production, Hawthorne's tale came
over as a fable very reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, in which Signior Rappaccini (John Rowe) kept his daughter (Emerald
O'Hanrahan) immured in a perfect garden, with very little to disturb her. The only snag was that he would not let her
out for fear that she would be "corrupted."
The best-laid plans are always laid to waste, however. The student Giovanni (Joseph
Cohen Cole), finds out about the girl's existence, falls in love with her, and suffers as a result. Like Adam and Eve,
the two of them are infected for life, and although an antidote can be found for their infection, the results are predictably
in sorrowful tones by an unidentified narrator (Peter Marinker), Rappaccini's Daughter offered a salutary warning
about the dangers of wanting to "know" too much, especially concerning forbidden or deliberately concealed knowledge.