About Love Beyond the Zoo

Saturday 28th August 2021

BBC Arts/New Creatives
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Penmeister and polymath Philip Ridley has been an inspiration for countless young writers. One of the most promising of them is Tom Powell, winner of the 2021 Papatango Prize with his play The Silence and the Noise. It’s easy to see why. His 11-minute radio play, Love Beyond the Zoo, which will be broadcast on BBC4 Xtra and is part of the BBC Arts/New Creatives project, is a sheer delight. Powell plays the nameless Man, a jobsworth who has fallen in love with Molly, an elephant at the zoo. After dramatic breakout, the pair have to adjust to ordinary, and not so ordinary, life in the suburbs. Quirky, gently humorous, and written with moments of insistent intensity, this is a open-hearted story which sings with Powell’s expansive imagination. Even the not unexpected use of the metaphor of the “elephant in the room” is well timed, and the piece is a brilliant burst of magic realism. Sleekly directed by Anna Campbell, the play also features Saffron Coomber as Molly and its absurdism radiates with the ability to be both surreally entertaining and suggestive of larger themes, both human and animal.

© Aleks Sierz

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