Surreal horsey humour in Radio 4's Warhorses of Letters
By Katy Islip
09 November 2011 13:56
Two horses, one war, one epistolary love affair. Sound odd? That's because it is, but I have to say I've been rather won over by Warhorses of Letters, a radio play charting an imaginary gay love affair between Napoleon's horse Marengo and Wellington's steed Copehagen in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars.
Written by Robert Hudson and Marie Phillips, the love letters exchanged by the two horses are read by Stephen Fry, playing Marengo (with a wonderful French accent) and Daniel Rigby, voicing former racehorse Copenhagen, with Tamsin Greig as narrator.
Unfortunately I missed the first episode of the four-part series, but have picked up the thread of the tale, which follows the course of the war and the ups and downs of the pair's relationship, in which Marengo's worldly-wise demeanour is the foil to Copenhagen's youthful enthusiasm. It's mad, touching, and when you're not snorting with laughter you're staring at the radio wondering if you're really hearing what you're hearing or whether it's just a very odd, cheese-induced dream.
With Christmas approaching, I'm tempted to snap up a copy of the Warhorses of Letters book, which will be published once enough people pledge to support it via innovative publishing project Unbound, for my beloved, as I'm sure he'll enjoy it (he can't get enough of surreal humour and loves Laura Solon).
The final episode of Warhorses of Letters will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 11pm on Tuesday (15th). To listen to the latest episode visit www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016vdwc or read the author's blogs at http://warhorsesofletters.wordpress.com/
For more information on the publishing project head to http://unbound.co.uk/books/18