Audiobook - Deep Cut

Deep Cut audio cover

Susan Omand takes a listen to a full cast audio play based on the true events surrounding the Deep Cut enquiry...

Performed By: Full Cast
Written & Adapted By: Philip Ralph
Music & Sound Design By: Mike Furness
Directed/Produced By: Mick Gordon/Richard Bannerman
Copyright: Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd/BBC R4

Deep Cut is a radio adaptation of  Philip Ralph's award-winning play which has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival, in London and on tour in the UK.

The main characters are Des and Doreen James and the play follows their search for answer to questions surrounding their daughter Cheryl's death at Deepcut training barracks on November 27th 1995.  Using soundbites, interview answers and statements, all gathered by the writer from actual verbatim transcripts of interviews and public documents, it traces the events surrounding Cheryl's death mostly from the viewpoint of her parents and her female Army pal Jonesy.  It also includes statements and other answers from Nicholas Blake QC, commissioned to carry out the judicial review, and comments from others like an independent forensics expert and a journalist who was involved in the story from the start. 

I will admit I started to listen to this hour long radio play with some trepidation.  Given the subject matter of controversial army suicide verdicts and the fact that it was going to be be told from a family point of view, I was expecting a very heavy, emotional time.  Either that or it was going to be a dry factual programme that reported all the details in a technical or, worse, very skewed way.

What I got was a really interesting documentary.  I really liked the way it was presented, without an overall narration telling the story, so the first-person soundbites and statements spoke for themselves.  The lack of a linking narrator or interview questions could have made something like this difficult to follow but the writing and production flowed extremely well and it was always very clear who was speaking and what part they had to in the overall story.  The characters themselves were very personable, especially the parents who spoke informally, almost just chatting about their daughter, and the story was not as emotionally heavy as I had feared.  Don't get me wrong though, there was definitely emotion there, from sadness to frustration to anger and final resignation but it was in no way sensationalised or overplayed.  Although I am not connected with the military, I know several people who are and the plausibility of the scenarios all rang very true.  I realise that may sound like stating the obvious, given that the script was taken from factual accounts, but I was very pleased that, as well as not being over-embellished and dramatised, the matter-of-factness of the official statements was not stripped away either.  It laid out the facts as they were presented and let the listener decide for themselves how to react to the information.

If you enjoy documentaries, you will definitely enjoy this radio play.  It is easily accessible and makes what could be a very difficult subject very approachable to the lay-person.  If, however you are looking for a sensational soap opera or highly action packed and dramatised version of events you will be disappointed.

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