Departure Delayed was one of the earliest productions made by Donovan Joyce. I suspected it was recorded in the late 1940s in the theatre studio at 3KZ Melbourne. It is an intriguing drama about a Dutch couple who escape Nazi occupation by cycling across Europe on a tandem bicycle. This serial powerfully illustrates the gruelling, fearful and treacherous journey the couple made during World War II. It is based on a story by Jan Van Apeldoorn about their extraordinary passage to freedom. However, the drama also provides an interesting glimpse into how radio drama was produced in the 1940s. A brilliant performance by John Casabon in the starring role as Jan Van Apeldoorn.
Couple this drama with Lindsay Hardy’s masterpiece written 20 years later, A Mask for Alexis, also a Donovan Joyce Production. If you want my recommendation about Alexis, this is the best Hardy script since the original Major Gregory Keen trilogy. The inter-weaving of thrilling storylines is quite amazing. The production techniques are vastly different to Departure Delayed but what is evident is the same creative hand of the old master, Donovan Joyce. And what a cast – headed by James Condon and Madi Head.
Both these radio dramas have been re-issued by Grace Gibson Radio and make a double billing you cannot afford to miss.
By Peter Philp
Author of Drama in Silent Rooms – the history of Australian Radio Drama