|Running time||45 minutes|
|Home station||BBC Radio 4|
Evelyn is an award winning radio play by Rhys Adrian, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 21 October 1969. It was later adapted for television as part of BBC 1's Play for Today series which was transmitted on 28 October 1971.
The play is largely a two-hander comprising a series of vignettes based around pillow talk between the characters referred to in the script simply as 'The Man' and 'The Girl'. He is a city professional in his mid-thirties, she is a middle class housewife in her early twenties; both are enjoying an extra-marital affair, meeting every Tuesday afternoon to make love while The Girl's husband works late at the office.
During one of their liaisons, The Girl claims to love both The Man and her husband equally. Troubled by this revelation, he gently persuades her to leave her husband and commit to him. The Girl does not consider this practical, and reveals that, besides her husband, The Man is not the only lover in her life. The Man grows increasingly paranoid that he will soon be replaced in The Girl's affections.
In an attempt to keep their love for each other alive, he invents a mistress called Evelyn who he intends to leave, along with his wife, so that he can be with The Girl – believing that this will finally persuade her to abandon her other lovers for him. Their meetings soon become more infrequent as The Girl begins to spend more time with her new lover, Peter. Despite the growing distance between them, The Girl reassures The Man that she still loves him. The play ends with a telephone conversation between the two, The Man suggesting times and places for them to meet, only for The Girl to inform him that she is unavailable. As she is about to hang up she tells The Man once more that she loves him, replaces the receiver and sighs wearily.
|Written by||Rhys Adrian|
|Directed by||Piers Haggard|
Edward de Souza
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Original channel||BBC 1|
|Original airing||28 October 1971|
Following Evelyn's success at the Prix Italia, Adrian adapted it for television as part of the BBC-1 Play for Today series broadcast on 28 October 1971. Although largely remaining faithful to the radio production, Adrian incorporated several new scenes – including a scene set in a pub where The Man and an equally anonymous friend discuss the former's 40th birthday, and a final coda where The Man returns home to his wife after his affair with The Girl has run its course.
In keeping with the original script, much of the early part of the play is based around The Girl's bedroom, which meant the principal cast were required to perform nude scenes. Despite being considered strong by the standards of the time, the controversy that greeted them was eclipsed a matter of weeks after the play's transmission with the broadcast of Dennis Potter's Casanova on BBC-2.
Critical reactions to the television version were mixed, with several critics complaining that the stylised language, which worked so well on radio, was not suited to television, leaving the play lumpen and impenetrable. Director Piers Haggard, however, was praised for bringing a clarity to the production that the material itself was considered lacking.
- Edward Woodward as The Man
- Angela Scoular as The Girl
- Phyllida Law as The Wife
- Edward de Souza as The Friend
- Charles Bolton as Peter
- John Lawrence "Play for Today: Evelyn", The Stage and Television Today, 4 November 1971, p.14
- Best Radio Plays of 1982 (Methuen; 1983)
- John Drakakis (Ed.), British Radio Drama (Cambridge University Press; 1981)