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Audio Drama Review


Full-cast Dramatisation


Author: Eleanor H. Porter
Starring: Phoebe Stirling, Gayle Hunnicutt, Tres Hanley and George Harris
BBC Audio
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 408 40070 8
Available 10 July 2008

When Pollyanna's father dies, she is sent to live with her only surviving relative, her rich but stern Aunt Polly. Pollyanna's joy soon turns to disappointment when her spinster aunt gives her a cold greeting and tells her she is to stay in the attic...

Pollyanna was originally published in 1913, with this radio adaptation of the book being broadcast on BBC Radio 4. However, I'm not entirely sure which year it first aired, as the sleeve notes for this CD claim that it was first broadcast on 22 December 1998 and last broadcast on 24 December 1988, ten years before the first broadcast... hmm, I think someone made a mistake there.

When Pollyanna Whittier's father passes away, the young girl is shipped off to live with the only surviving member of her family, her wealthy but very stern Aunt Polly. On arrival at Aunt Polly's, it's pretty obvious she's not welcome, and poor Pollyanna is made to live in the attic. It's not the welcome Pollyanna expected, but she soon regains her spirits, playing the `glad game' her father taught her.

Nancy the maid is charmed by Pollyanna and soon the girl's infectious optimism wins the hearts of everyone in town from the reclusive Mr Pendleton to the shy Dr Chilton. Everyone, that is, except Aunt Polly, who refuses to succumb to her young niece's charm. It is not until a tragic accident occurs, which leaves even Pollyanna struggling to find a way to feel glad, that her maiden aunt finally unwraps her heart from years of bitterness.

While the tale at the centre of Pollyanna is engaging, this BBC radio play suffers from some poor acting and overly annoying American accents - so annoying, that some of this audio production is hard to stomach.

What could have been a very enjoyable drama ends up being pretty average.


Amber Leigh

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