This drama was broadcast yesterday at 2.15pm on Radio 4.
The Afternoon Play took a dark turn in this unusual but ultimately charming black comedy from rookie Craig Hawes.
Charles Dale plays Gwilym, a socially awkward and lonely middle-aged bachelor. Mollycoddled by his neighbours and stuck in a mundane existence, Gwilym fills the void by writing letters to female prisoners from all over the world. His life is turned upside down when one of his penpals, Layla, turns up at his doorstep after being released early and an unlikely love story begins.
Drawing on complicated themes including capital punishment and sexual frustration, Jailbird Lover is at times risqué always thought-provoking. Despite the unusual plot, the basis for this play is thoroughly in keeping with traditional British comedy. Conversations are awkward and often cringeworthy and though never laugh-out-loud, the story is told with a warm heart.
This is no delightful romp and while the dark twist at the end may be divisive, Jailbird Lover packs a powerful conclusion.