VANESSA ROSENTHAL RADIO PLAYS
Vanessa Rosenthal is a professional actor with many years experience. She
was born and brought up in Manchester and trained at the Central School
of Drama. She has worked in theatres up and down the country, on radio,
and on television. Most recently Vanessa appeared in Alan Bennett's
"The Lady in the Van" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and completed a
tour of The Importance of Being Earnest in which she played Miss Prism.
Her writing: four novels (1980-90) and a sequence of radio
plays (1998-), five of which have been chosen in radio 4's "Pick of the Week" :
BBC BROADCASTS: RADIO PLAYS
05.1998 Jerusalem North West
06.1998 Divided Harvest
07.1999 Out In The Dark
11.1999 Germs Apart
12.1999 Seasons Greetings* (Ayckbourn), adaptation for radio
04.2000 Fine Feathers (Penelope Lively), reading by Vanessa Rosenthal
07.2000 A Confirmed Bachelor (Schnitzler), dram
11.2000 Founders' Day*
12.2000 No Ice in Weymouth
04.2001 Bye Bye Miss American High
04.2002 Bottle Blond and Beautiful*
01.2003 Exchanges in Bialystock*
09.2003 The Spring Sonata* (Schnitzler), dram
03.2004 Letters From My Mother
05.2007 The Alibi (du Maurier), dram
10.2012 Shall I say a Kiss?*, dram
Asterisked plays known to exist within VRPCC collections.
NOTES ON THE PLAYS
JERUSALEM NORTH WEST....1998
R4, Produced by Nandita Ghose, Manchester. A Jewish convert looks back
over her life, and remembers the man with whom she once fell in love.
With Sarah Lancashire, David Fleeshman and Brigit Forsyth.
R4, fast track commission, prod. Nandita Ghose, Manchester. An actress
meets her lover, an Israeli, after many year apart. With Sheila Steafel,
Jack Klaff and Jane Cameron.
OUT IN THE DARK....1999
R4, prod. Peter Leslie Wild, Birmingham. The poet Edward Thomas
was a volunteer in the First War. He left behind a young family. He
just begun writing poetry, after a meeting with Robert Frost. With
Vanessa Rosenthal, Stephen Tomlin, Oona Beeson.
R4, prod. Polly Thomas, Manchester. A group of women from very
different backgrounds meet in a hospital side ward and prowl round
each others' lives to find out secrets and fears in an atmosphere
of suspicion, but in the end they form a unique bond through a
mad, shared adventure....with Maggie
Tagney, Brigid Forsyth, Gillian Kearney.
SEASON'S GREETINGS, ad ....1999
R4, Christmas Special, prod. Polly Thomas, Manchester. The well-known
play by Alan Ayckbourn: a story of seasonal disharmony and romantic
intrigue. With Geoffrey Palmer, Frances Barber, Bill Nighy, John
A CONFIRMED BACHELOR, dram....2000
R4, Classic Serial, prod. Peter Leslie Wild, Birmingham. A middle-
aged doctor meets a woman whom he thinks would make an ideal wife. But as
their relationship develops there is an unexpected encounter...with Keith
Drinkel, Cathy Sara and Jo Rafferty.
FOUNDERS DAY ....2000
R4, prod. Polly Thomas, Manchester. A well-known feminist writer
returns to her old school to give the address at Founders Day but as
the hymns and the service drift through the open windows, she's
pacing the grounds dealing with old ghosts; some more tangible than
others; for example, there's her first love, now the father of a present
day pupil...stars Brigit
Forsyth, Siara Mian.
NO ICE IN WEYMOUTH....2000
R4, for Woman's Hour: a recreation of the world of Jane Austen, from
her letters and other sources. Prod. Peter Leslie Wild, Birmingham. Five
15-minute episodes. Devised by Vanessa Rosenthal; with Susannah Harker,
David Holt, Ian Brooker.
BYE BYE, MISS AMERICAN HIGH....2001
R4, prod. Melanie Harris, Manchester. Fast track commission; listed
for BAFTA Mental Health Drama Award 2001. Marie has a wedding to organise.
Simone, from her past, appears ... and will not go away. With Sarah
Parks, Naomi Radcliffe, Rob Pickavance, Juliet Ellis.
BOTTLE BLONDE AND BEAUTIFUL....2002
R4, Afternoon play, 45m; drama of modern fatherhood and everyday
dreams, set in a ladies hairdressers' ....produced by Polly Thomas, Manchester.
EXCHANGES IN BIALYSTOCK....2003
R4, prod. David Neville. Three people go to Bialystock - a retired
professor, an elderly English lady, and the Prof's daughter. This is a
pilgrimage to the Polish town where the professor's family perished
in the holocaust. The girl is contemptuous of the older woman's
presence; it's a serious trip, not a holiday, and tolerance is not a
quality one always associates with the young. She
has some learning to do...Excellent casting, writing and directing. This
play was chosen to represent the UK at the 2003 Broadcasting Union
Conference in Helsinki.
THE SPRING SONATA....2003
Broadcast 27 Sept; In a little town near Vienna in spring 1900
a young widow walks in the park with her six year old son and
wonders why she feels restless. Then she meets an old flame...romance
at last? An exploration of love and hypocrisy. With Alison Petitt,
James Duke, Claudia Harrison, Christopher Kent, Michael Jenn, David
Thorp, Fenella Norman, Vanessa Rosenthal (Frau Martin), John McCraw,
Catherine Kinsella, Dominic Curran, Sam Stirling. Directed by
LETTERS FROM MY MOTHER....2004
Jane Sellars' account of growing up in the 1970s.
She kept most of the letters her mother wrote to her
when she was in the first year at Manchester University
but her replies were mostly lost. She's recreated the
letters as if she was 19 again, writing back to her
mother who was at home with two other daughters on a
very tight budget. Vanessa Rosenthal's dramatisation
brings it back to life. 5 x 15m, starting 8 Mar 04.
The Alibi, dramatised by Vanessa Rosenthal from a short story by Daphne du Maurier.
A sustained air of menace pervaded the piece, but it was overlaid with the gentlemanliness of the manners of another time.
A wife brightly arranged the domestic and social affairs of her household without an inkling that her husband’s increasingly distracted mien hid the heart of a sociopath.
Charles, played by Michael Maloney, decided to commit a random act of murder to allay the tedium of his life. By virtue of opening a door whose number corresponded to the day’s date, Lia William’s harassed single mother became his chosen victim. Months later she and her child lay dead in the house, but it was not clear if Charles was responsible for what had happened or merely the fall guy in some greater event that was being played out.
Maloney’s performance was a study in alienation while the drama itself, with an ending that could be taken two ways, proved how satisfying the short story can be as source material for radio drama.
....part of a review from "The Stage"
SHALL I SAY A KISS?....2012
2 Oct: Afternoon Drama. Dramatized by Vanessa Rosenthal. In 1936, Morris met Eva at Warrington Deaf Club. An unusual transatlantic romance began. Drama starring two deaf actors, based on a true story. Dramatised by Vanessa Rosenthal.
Shall I Say a Kiss? is the title of a book of letters edited by Lennard Davis, Eva and Morris' youngest son. When his parents died he found a bundle of faded letters. They afforded a fascinating glimpse into his parents' courtship.
Morris Davis was born deaf in 1898 in Whitechapel. He moved to New York in 1924. On a visit to the UK in 1935, he saw a photo of Eva Weintrobe, also deaf. He went to Liverpool to meet her.
Morris ...... David Bower,
Eva ...... Emily Howlett,
Mrs Weintrobe ...... Miriam Margolyes,
Joseph Weintrobe ...... Adam Levy,
Beattie Sokolov ...... Ceri Mill,
Producer ...... Polly Thomas.
Chad Gaya sung by the Dyson Langleben families.
Production co-ordinator Eleri McAuliffe.
Sound engineers Cathy Bassett, Nigel Lewis.
Executive producer Kate McAll, BBC Wales.
list of plays kindly supplied by Vanessa Rosenthal.
Vanessa's website is at
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website.
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