Dropping Bombs by Paul Cotter

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BBC Radio 4, 15 October 2009
This play had its roots in road movies, whose protagonists travel long distances and discover something about themselves in the process. Ross (Ivan Kaye) takes time off work to drive his mother Valerie (Rosemary Leach) and father Alistair (Nigel Anthony) to the German town which Alistair had bombed in 1943 while serving with the RAF. Despite being in his late 30s, Ross is treated like a child by an over-protective mother and a father who believes his son lacks the 'manly' virtues of strength and virility, preferring instead to discuss such 'female' things as one's emotions. Both Valerie and Alistair are imprisoned by their obsessions: Valerie wants to go sightseeing at every tick and turn, while Alistair reveals an obsessive desire to get to his destination as soon as possible.
As the action ufolds, so each character discovers that their dreams are seldom fulfilled. Valerie never gets to see anything; Alistair discovers that his apologies to the German citizens for the atrocities committed during the Second World War are met with a wall of indifference; while Ross understands that his girlfriend Lesley has left him for good. However the experience of frustration proves beneficial for all three of them: Ross comes to understand his parents' way of thinking, while Alistair at last comes to terms with his emotional inhibitions and shows genuine affection towards his wife and son. The three of them return to Britain in a far happier frame of mind, as compared to their outward journey (which had been spoiled by perpetual bickering). They even decide to go on holiday together in the future.
The title can be interpreted in two ways - as an evocation of what happened in 1943, and as a form of emotional discovery. The family have metaphorical bombs dropped on their preconceptions, a process that leaves them better people in the long run. The director was Toby Swift.