Albert Speer’s Walk Around the World aired on BBC Radio 4, January 30.
For a limited time, you can listen (irregardless of where you live) to it on the Radio 4 website (link here). Patrick Malahide’s performance was absolutely brilliant. His voice was mesmerizing and at times full of passion, sadness, lust, hope….whatever the moment called for. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll share some thoughts.
In the play, Speer, who is in Spandau Prison, has befriended an American security guard who gives him travel books. During his outdoor exercise (where he meticulously keeps track of the number of meters he walks) Albert dreams of traveling to the different locations in the book, and takes us with him on his imaginary journeys. However, his international daydreams always seem to go very wrong. That element reminds me of The Singing Detective, in which Philip Marlow seemed to have some pretty distressing fantasies! Speer flits between fantasy and reality, which is very Singing Detective-ish. I think if you enjoyed The Singing Detective, you will certainly enjoy this excellent radio play.
We also see his relationships with Rudolph Hess (Jack Klaff) and Karl Donitz (Nicholas Woodeson). I especially enjoyed his scenes with Hess and Donitz. They are oddly funny….in a rather uncomfortable way. I think we are seeing men who generally would dislike each other bonding together by common suffering. It doesn’t sound very amusing, but it is.
What was really amusing, however, was the minor gaffe made by the BBC presenter, in which it was (very) briefly stated that Albert Speer spent 20 years in Spandau Ballet. Yeah, she corrected herself almost immediately, but it was really funny. Especially for those of us who were fans of ’80s New Romantic music 🙂
Here’s a little video I made using audio of the gaffe. Please note, you might have to turn your speakers up: