Wednesday, 25 January 2006

The Uzzards

You must imagine this spoken at a cocktail party in a gushing voice :

Oh, you live in the North, do you? How super. What fun. You don’t by any chance know the Uzzards? They live in the North somewhere. He’s in some terrific chemical thing up there and she’s hideously pretty. I mean, I hardly know them, but I do remember someone saying that they lived up in that part of the world. You must meet them, they’re frightful sweeties. Well, I say they’re up in the North, but of course at the moment they aren’t because he’s doing … what is he doing? How is it that one can never remember what people are doing? I think he’s doing five years. I think I’m right in saying five. There was some terrible confusion about some money thing he was mixed up with. Such a pity, because he’s such good value. And she’s so madly sensible about it all.

And the absolutely unforgivably ghastly thing is that I’ve forgotten what she’s doing, but I think that what she’s doing is life. There was some kind of dreadful muddle about her au pair getting sort of murdered. Such rotten luck. And of course just when she needed the girl most! Maddening when you get a good one and off she goes. Because the tragic thing was, the girl was an absolute marvel. I think that’s why David got involved in this terrible confusion about the money thing. I think so. There was some ghastly mix-up over sort of fur coats and abortion sort of things. I think that was it. Then Sue heard that David had got involved in this muddle about the money thing and she thought, wow, and she got into this muddle about the murder thing.

So absolutely awful when everyone involved is so awfully nice. And such killingly good value. But you’ve never met them? And now they’re not up in the North any more! How sickening. Such a dreadful waste, somehow. No, I mean of the North. Still, I get the impression it’s frightful fun living up there.

Michael Frayn


2 comments:

Adam said...

Good Evening!

This may be a somewhat strange request but can you tell me what the below Michael Frayn play this speech is from. It was given to me as audition piece some time ago and since then I have been going crazy trying to track down the play. In a last ditch effort I typed in the last line of the speech and lo and behold your blog Other Men's Flowers had it posted on it.

I do, so hope you can help me. You really are my last hope.

Many thanks!

Victoria

Tony said...

Dear Adam/Victoria ?
This isn't from a play. It's just a sketch, first performed by Eleanor Bron in a 1972 TV series called Beyond a Joke. I saw Peter Barkworth recite it (not long before he died) in a little revue with Hannah Gordon, and then bought his book For All Occasions in which he reprinted it.
You must have enjoyed doing that audition; hope you got the part.