The Recording of The Powys Brothers selected reading from JCP, TFP and LP,
by Freddie Jones, Christopher Kent and Oliver Marlow Wilkinson
Christopher Kent writes:
It came about through my dear friend and colleague, the late Chris Wilkinson, with whom I worked many times on stage, screen and radio, and his father Oliver Marlow Wilkinson, who of course had close ties to the Powys family. Chris was very involved in Powys research and trying to make some sense of his father’s mountain of correspondence and archive material. It used to throw up interesting texts and he invited me a couple of times to perform readings with him at Powys Society events. I recall we also put together a group of actor friends around the same time to give a rehearsed reading at the Powys Society conference of a lost play he’d discovered called The Entermores by one of the Powys brothers (John Cowper, I think?). We all stayed together in Oliver’s tumbledown Cotswold house, which he shared with an irascible parrot called Peregrine. For some reason Peregrine took a particular dislike to our actor friend Bob Barrett, the gentlest of men, who went on to play Dr Sascha Levy in Holby City for many years, and beat his wings against his cage viciously every time Bob spoke. He was lucky Peregrine wasn’t allowed out because there was an original Man Ray photograph on the wall that Peregrine had taken lumps out of in a fit of pique apparently. I also recall around that time Chris telling us that Oliver’s old Volvo had packed in so he’d rummaged around and found a letter from Oscar Wilde to his father Louis Marlow in the loft. The auction price at Sotheby’s was enough to buy him a new car.
At the time I was one of the few actors in the country to have my own home recording studio and I think that’s why I ended up recording the pieces for the cassette release. I remember recording it to the now forgotten (but then cutting-edge) format of DAT (digital audio tape) and sending it off by post. I can’t recall how Freddie Jones’s involvement came about but I think Oliver knew him. He was a wonderful actor and great character. I’m sure Chris would have managed the arrangements expertly and with great charm. I remember being fascinated by the richness of the writing. Oliver was a wonderful link to what seemed like a lost world and spoke very much as the brothers wrote.
© Christopher Kent