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Written by Neil Gardner
Performed by Louise Jameson
LOUISE JAMESON performs this dramatic monologue telling the story of the very last of the once-ubiquitous tea ladies of the UK.
Dur: 18mins STEREO
Available as 320kbps Stereo MP3 – 42MB
THE LAST OF THE TEA LADIES is the latest short story by award-winning writer/director Neil Gardner.
In a change from his usual Sci-Fi/Horror styles, Neil presents a more dramatic/tragic story, the tale of the very last tea lady in the UK. LOUISE JAMESON performs this dramatic monologue with great subtlety and passion, telling the life story of one of the once-ubiquitous cadre of tea ladies who used to be the oil that greased the cogs of British industry.
THE LAST OF THE TEA LADIES is currently being developed as a one-woman theatre production.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Performed by LOUISE JAMESON (Leela, Doctor Who)
We offer this short story to you FREE OF CHARGE, as a taster of our wares, and as a precursor to a collection of Neil Gardner’s short stories which will be released later in the Spring of 2015.
Purple Planet Music / Neil Gardner
Spokenworld Audio/Ladbroke Audio Ltd
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The Cult Den –
Time marches on regardless as Susan Omand reviews the latest audio short from Neil Gardner and Spokenworld…
“The most important person in Fellows & Sons Amalgamated Grommets & Doohickeys relates the history of the company from the time she started with them aged just 9. Her name is Charlene and she is The Last of the Tea Ladies.
From filling sugar bowls for her mum, the head tea lady, when she was 9, to having the responsibility at 15 of her own department to literally cater for, we follow Char, or Mrs Oo, as she provides tea and the right kind of biscuits for the brown coated, pipe smoking lathe workers. But time marches on and things change, with advances in technology getting rid of the lathes and replacing them with computer components. Changes for the staff too as pipes are banned and jobs are cut and changes for the tea ladies as they have to make… coffee.
Just as you get wrapped up in the comfortable nostalgia of the history of the factory though, the story takes a sudden, much darker turn as we learn why she missed a couple of days work in her 50 years service and what her own future plans are.
The voice of Louise Jameson is perfect for this role. She manages to convey the weight of the years spent in the factory with a real down to earth, “just get on with it” quality to make the tea lady utterly believable. The history of the company and the changes as it evolves is very well related in the writing of Neil Gardner, from the viewpoint of the constant lynch-pin of such places, the tea lady, and the brilliant dark twist is made even more shocking in the matter of fact way that it is told. The music too, even though the production is very stripped back, is used very effectively and the fade in at the end works very well with the narrative.
I really enjoyed this story, maybe because personally it brought back a lot of memories. My father worked in the office of an agricultural engineering factory, so I can just picture the lathes and the men in brown coats, smoking pipes among the engine oil, who spoke to 5 year old me when I got “taken to the office”. Their factory went through similar changes as the older partners died off or retired, so I know the upset that “progress” can sometimes bring. But even without these memories it’s a very well told story, beautifully performed and with a great unexpected twist.”
9/10 The Cult Den