Darkside: a Radio Play by Sir Tom Stoppard

This is not a Drill

I was never a big progressive rock fan but there were a few albums that I would, and still do, listen to over and over again. De-Loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta, Lateralus by Tool, The Wall and The Dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

the wall

Movie Poster for The Wall

Earlier this week BBC Radio 2 aired a radio play based on The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album, which was originally released in 1973.

The idea of this Radio Play was not a new one. Apparently Sir Tom Stoppard, an accomplished playwright and screenplay writer, was approached with this very idea 40 years ago. Better late than never.

This is the second time a I’ve seen Pink Floyd album dramatised. The first was the 1982 rendition of The Wall album which was released in 1979. It follows a troubled rock star’s descent into madness.

Darkside, however, takes on the philosophically rock strewn path of trying to discover what is ‘the good’. Interspersed with the psychedelic tones of the 70’s, the dialogue and sound effects paint a surrealist nightmare that Dali would have been proud of. As for the characters, you have a philosophy student, a valley full of thought experiments and an ethics professor who doubles as the dubious costumed vigilante, Ethics Man.


Album cover for The Dark Side of the Moon

What I really liked about the production is that despite the fact that it is a radio play, it isn’t solely an auditory experience. If you access it on the BBC website there is a stream of very bizarre images that add another layer meaning.

I thought the acting was ok, the dialogue was a bit corny, and I did get a sense of incompleteness with the overall production, which is probably why the reviewer at the Telegraph, Gillian Reynolds,  didn’t get it. Despite all that, I still enjoyed it.

If you’re a Pink Floyd fan check it out, if not, check it out anyway. You’ve got about 3 more days before they take it off the website.

Image Credit: Zillion Arts, IMDB

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