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Audio Drama Review


R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
(Full-cast Dramatisation)


Author: Karel Čapek
Starring: Simon Ward and Tessa Peake-Jones
BBC Audio
RRP: £12.99
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0045 6
Available 14 August 2008

Fired by a passionate enthusiasm to improve on nature, inventor Rossum spends a decade trying to create humans. The experiments fail, until Rossum's engineer nephew takes over and manages to invent artificial beings. Intelligent machines, with no emotions and no souls, these 'robots' make perfect workers...

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 1989, R.U.R. is a drama production of Karel Čapek's 1921 play, set in a future where all the work in our society is carried out by robots manufactured by Rossum's Universal Robots. In fact, it's widely believed that Čapek's play introduced the term "robot".

While on a tour of Rossum's Universal Robots factory Helena Glory, a member of the League of Humanity, reveals her disdain for the way robots are being manufactured. The General Manager of R.U.R., Harry Domain is the one conducting the tour and their meeting eventually leads to the two of them falling in love and eventually they become engaged.

Years later Helena manages to persuade the powers that be to design the robots with built in emotions, little realising that this will lead to a revolt against the human race. As the robots go about destroying mankind, they discover that they are not as easy to eradicate, especially when the robots emotions get in the way.

This audio drama is a joy from start to finish and also includes interesting sleeve notes on the making of the the radio adaptation


Nick Smithson

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