Words and Music

Razor Sharp

Razor Sharp



From barbers to seashells, sharp notes to cutting remarks. With readings by Clare Corbett and OT Fagbenle, today's programme plays with the phrase `razor sharp', revelling in the drama and disruption inherent in these two short words. We'll hear the writing of Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker and Sandra Cisneros, and an example of the wonderful one-upmanship of Ethel Merman singing Anything You Can Do. Robert Graves looks at the unshaven Face in the Mirror and Rossini's Barber of Seville and Sondheim's Sweeney Todd compete to showcase their particular wares. Gangs of youths from Peaky Blinders to Graham Greene's Brighton Rock emanate menace, razors glinting in the sunshine, or tucked neatly into caps. Dizzee Rascal might be looking sharp, but it's the words of Malcolm X which cut through. You can hear how he moves from sharp-suited youth to the civil rights activist whose racially charged words challenge white Americans in the 1960s. Musically, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and JS Bach play with sharp keys, while Handel's music floats across the water as the 18th-century pleasure barge organised by the Sharp family glides down the Thames. The Razor Shell - Vernon Watkins. Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells - Helen Scales. The Good Sharps - Hester Grant. Moby-Dick - Herman Melville. The Face In The Mirror - Robert Graves. The Massacre - Walter De la Mare. Tired - Langston Hughes. Brighton Rock - Graham Greene. Miscast I - Amy Lowell. The Autobiography - Malcolm X. Loose Woman - Sandra Cisneros. Emma - Jane Austen. Much Ado About Nothing - Shakespeare. Interview - Dorothy Parker.

Cast & Crew

Reader Clare Corbett
Reader OT Fagbenle
Producer Katy Hickman