A review by Peter Philp, Broadcast Historian and author of Drama in Silent Rooms
Whenever you read the name Donovan Joyce on a CD cover, take note. He was one of the incredible people in radio, producing radio drama that was so good that broadcasting stations and sponsors were prepared to lay out big money, frequently before the program was made and often without hearing even a brief preview.
When Grace Gibson Radio recently released Gabrielle, produced by Donovan Joyce, I immediately snapped up a copy; not for a moment disappointed but presented with many surprises.
Like many of Joyce’s work, he never tolerated the average or even good writers for his programs, so when he decided on the adaptation of this bestselling novel by Christine Brookner, Donovan brought onboard one of the best radio and TV writers to handle the job, Richard Lane.
Gabrielle is about a dead woman who takes over the life of a stranger. Each episode of the 104-chapter set is filled with intrigue and drama, however this saga never ventures into the far-fetched category. In fact, it provides the listener a storyline of surprising twists and turns including a graphic enlightenment about an often forgotten yet frightening aspect of the Second World War. According to the words of the storyteller, Gabrielle is beautiful, sophisticated and enchanting while never claiming to be more than a common gardener. It didn’t take long before I had formed and illusory relationship with the character and like the story-teller was intent on meeting this mysterious Gabrielle thanks to the superb performance of Dinah Shearing.
If your choice of storytelling is anchored in the believable but laced with captivating and enthralling creative writing, then Gabrielle is one not to miss.
Gabrielle stars Dinah Shearing and Frank waters with some excellent support from Alan Trevor, Guy Doleman and Harp McGuire.