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Faro's Daughter

Based on the book by
Georgette Heyer

Adapted by
Kitty Black

Produced by
David Hitchinson

First broadcast 4th February 1995 as part of BBC Radio 4's 'Romance Season'

The Cast
Nathaniel Parker..............................Max Ravenscar
Sylvestra Le Touzel..........................Deborah Grantham
Marcia Warren.................................Lady Mablethorpe
Jonathan Keeble..............................Lord Crewe
Gavin Muir......................................Silas Wantage
Mark Payton....................................Lord Adrian Mablethorpe
Edward De Souza............................Lord Ormskirk
Sean Barrett...................................Lucius Kennet
Peter Yapp.....................................Sir James Filey
Anna Massey..................................Lady Bellingham
Tessa Worsley................................Mrs Patch
Deborah Berlin...............................Hon. Phoebe Laxton
Oliver Senton.................................Kit Grantham
Becky Hindley................................Arabella Ravenscar

Review of Book and Play
I didn't expect to enjoy this book quite as much as I did, because it seemed initially to be a rather silly nonsensical farce. A kind of fluffy cross between a Jane Austen and a PG Woodhouse - and practically every sentence of dialogue ending with an exclamation mark! But in spite of some stereotypical characters and a fairly transparent plot, it became hugely amusing getting to the very predictable ending that you could see coming from a long way off!

Georgette Heyer's excellently researched historical novel is set in the Regency period, and she's included even the smallest details of life at that time. 'Faro's Daughter' is basically the story of renowned gamester, Max Ravenscar's attempts to save his young and inexperienced cousin (not to mention the family's fortune!) from the clutches of older woman and mistress of a gaming house, the beautiful Deborah Grantham. Pitting their respective wits against each other, the two become locked in a match of risk and gambling all their own.

Although the play is missing a couple of scenes that explain the characters' actions and personalities more, there are typically wonderful performances from Sylvestra Le Touzel and Marcia Warren, both of whom have since performed alongside Nat for TV. I also love it that you can even hear the rustle of their dresses!

Review of Nat's Performance
Max Ravenscar is a middle-aged, very wealthy bachelor with a house in Grosvenor Square and a country estate with 'noble mansion and deer park', and an interest in horse-racing! Accustomed to flattery and sycophancy, although despising both, and used to getting his own way, to be crossed by a mere girl from a gaming house is a new experience for him.

Although this is a fun part for Nat to play, and his voice and manner soften in the second half of the play, from aloof and self-satisfied in the first, there isn't as much scope for him to develop the character as in some of his other radio plays.

But as he and Deb play their own games, you can feel the tension mounting, and by about halfway through, Nat's tone makes it obvious that Max has become a more caring individual and has fallen for Deb. He chuckles in an endearingly conceited manner throughout and does a wonderful smug little laugh at a crucial point in the story - after Deb has had him abducted and then leaves him in the cellarÂ… with the candle! I also spotted him as one of the background voices in the gentleman's club..

A very entertaining radio play that I thoroughly enjoyed and that I'm sure would make a lovely light-hearted period drama for TVÂ…. with Nat as Max Ravenscar, of course!

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