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Circle Line

W. Stephen Gilbert’s first broadcast work was the winner of a BBC playwriting competition, but it’s a play far from the sort of ‘sound but safe’ affair that would suggest. Michael Feast is a cynical student lodging with a professional woman and her fourteen-year-old son, who sees life as one continuous, numb journey on the titular underground track. The inevitable conflict between his existential disaffection and her (and especially her boyfriend’s) orthodox worldview come to a startling head when he casually sleeps with the woman’s fourteen year old brother after they have shared a joint . As a sign of the times, it’s worth noting that the joint caused more consternation in the Beeb’s drama department than the underage sex. This resulted in a postponement of over a year (the play was originally intended as part of a Wednesday Play season).

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