Tuesday, April 8, 2014

(Parts of)Kiss Kiss

(Parts of) Kiss Kiss
by Roald Dahl

My Blurb:
Audio from the BBC.  Five fifteen minute radio dramatizations of some of Roald Dahl's short stories for adults.  "William and Mary", "Parson's Pleasure", "Royal Jelly", "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat", and "The Landlady".

My Reaction (with SPOILERS):
This isn't the full collection of short stories in Kiss Kiss, but the ones presented were very easy listening.  Just fifteen minutes each-- adapted for a narrator and voice actors.  Very nicely done.  I'd be interested in listening to more adaptations of this kind.

Reactions to each story (again, with potential spoilers):

"William and Mary"--
A bit predictable from a modern perspective, but not bad.   So, would you take the deal William took?  (Assuming you didn't believe in an afterlife, of course.)  I don't know that I see the point... I guess you could hope that a time would come when you'd be given a new (possibly robotic) body, but otherwise... If you at least had the ability to really communicate, possibly, but without that, no thanks.  Seems like a form of torture.

"Parson's Pleasure"--
I recognized this one.  It was in a collection of Dahl's short stories that Donald and I read together some time (years) ago, but I didn't remember the twist until just before it happened.  Even as someone who's not in the market for expensive antiques, I still felt a pang over the needless destruction of such a rare piece of furniture.  What a waste!  And yet-- what an exquisite punishment for our imparsonator.  ;o)  As if it's not bad enough to swindle people out of valuable belongings (because this goes well beyond making a decent profit-- in compensation for his expertise and for recognizing the thing), he has to go and do it in the guise of a man of God!  Shameful!

"Royal Jelly"--
Weird...  Yeah, it's Roald Dahl, so "weird" shouldn't come as a surprise.  Speaking of surprises, some of these twist endings are not quite so surprising as they ought to be, perhaps.  Is this a consequence of success?  You write a good twist and other people "borrow" it, are inspired by it, and so on, to the point that when someone well into the future reads the original idea, they've already seen so many iterations of it that they go, "Ho-hum.  Been there, done that!"  (Or maybe that's not the case here.  I don't really know.  Just a thought.)

"Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat"--
Yuck.  So many of Roald Dahl's characters aren't nice people.  I guess that's true in his children's books, too, but I don't remember noticing as much as a child as I do now, reading/listening to his stories for adults.  I was interrupted in the middle of this one, and for some reason, though I dutifully disliked her in the beginning, I found myself sympathizing with Mrs. Bixby in the second half!  Both Mrs. and Mr. Bixby are equally disgusting, though.  No reason why I should dislike him more than her-- unless it's some sort of "female solidarity" thing.  (g)

"The Landlady"--
Ooooh... ~shiver~  Creepy.  Shades of Psycho.  As such, it's another of those familiar twists, but still pretty effective.  This is definitely my favorite of the bunch, right ahead of "Parson's Pleasure".