The Man Who Fell to Earth

    by -

    The image is striking – a gift for a dramatist and a tragedy for stowaway Jose Matada. On September 9, 2012, his body landed in leafy west London, having fallen from the freezing wheel recess of a BA flight from Angola. The poignant details – it was his 26th birthday, he had a one pound coin in his pocket – sound as if tweaked by art but spring from this real life story.

    Writer Annalisa D’Innella demonstrated her ear for the subtle cruelties of relationships in Rain, Steam and Speed, one of the Turner plays for the 2008 Camden Fringe, and now has a screenplay optioned by Miraj Films. Here, she pounces on the brutal juxtaposition of lives, focusing on a bunch of solipsistic, fictional neighbours whose Sunday morning is so maddeningly inconvenienced.

    One, the cool, confiding voice of Tom Hughes as pampered youth Giles, can’t remember where he put his stash of cocaine. Robin Weaver plunges into requisite shallow water as young mum Mel, who has a serious case of utility room envy, while Susan Lynch is exquisitely reined back as low grade depressive Rachel.

    Bread makers, white tulips, hair straighteners, IVF, yoga, Audis – lifestyle emblems are paraded, petulance is the default emotion. Farce, thwarted desire, indolence are on view and while D’Innella captures the riffs of contemporary life and swings slickly between her characters’ stories, she strays into soapland. The over-demonisation of the middle classes is a little naive but the emotive charge of the shadowy figure of Matada is compelling.

    • BBC Radio 4, November 6, 2.15pm
    • Author: Annalisa D’Innella
    • Director: Karen Rose
    • Cast: Tom Hughes, Susan Lynch, Robin Weaver, Farzan Dua Elahe, Rufus Wright, Jack Bence, Freddie Park
    • Producer: Sweet Talk Productions
    • Running time: 45mins
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