14 November 1986
Christopher Fry’s new play – jointly commissioned by Radio 4 and Chelmsford Cathedral – is One Thing More … Caedmon Construed.
The Venerable Bede tells the story – a speculation, he confesses – of the stranger, a stuttering stableman, who seems reluctant to be part of the community, to be close to God.
The drama treats the miracle of inspiration, “ a nightingale in a thornbush”, as Caedmon finds his voice to sing the beginnings of created beings.
Bernard Hepton, as Bede, lent authority to the story, though his performance was somewhat book-bound. The device of his continued presence, ex cathedra, was very effective.
Terrance Hardiman gave a quietly powerful performance as Caedmon, and the cast also included Barbara Leigh Hunt as Hilda, and superb support from Norman Jones as the Overman and Geraldine Alexander as the Novice.
The huge screen could have been better used, but there were many memorable moents, such of the sound of the choir [an excellent recording of Graham Elliott’s music] and the sea with the night sky.
And despite some sightline problems, the Cathedral building itself added a further dimension to the drama.
The play was directed by Michael Bakewell and Jane Morgan; you can hear the radio version, with the same cast, this Sunday, November 16.