The Unfortunates, by BS Johnson
by B.S. Johnson
adapted by Graham White
Bryan ..... Martin Freeman
Tony ..... Patrick Kennedy
Wendy ..... Claire Rushbrook
June ..... Jacqueline Defferary
Tony's Father ..... Sean Baker
First Aid Woman/Tony's Mother ..... Christine Kavanagh
Sation Announcer/Reporter ..... Tony Bell
Landlady/Clerk ..... Sally Orrock
Guest House owner/Reporter ..... Jude Akuwudike
Clerk/Newspaper Voice ..... Lloyd Thomas
Grocer/Clerk ..... Sam Dale
Passing Child ..... Joseph Dudgeon
Tony's son ..... Greta Dudgeon
directed by Mary Peate
"But I know this city...Tony. This town. His town. Their town."
Adaptation of B.S. Johnson's 1969 novel in which a sports journalist travels to a strange city to cover a football match, only to discover it was the city where he first met his friend Tony who has died young of cancer. We follow the journalist from his arrival at the train station, through lunch, to the match and on the journey home, as different memories of his friend are triggered.
Originally published in 27 unbound pamphlets in a box, The Unfortunates was intended to be read in a random order. The lack of a fixed order is suggestive of the way memories occur, and the book becomes a meditation not just on friendship and loss, but also on the nature of memory and writing as our hero struggles to recall everything in order to 'get it all down' as he promised his dying friend.
B.S. Johnson is not a household name, but his novels are beloved by a growing number of people who have discovered him and he has something of a cult status. Renewed interest in B.S. Johnson came partly from the publication of Jonathan Coe's celebrated biography of Johnson, Like a Fiery Elephant.