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Poison Cross is the last in the Place Prints series and in a way it comes full circle and finishes where it started. The first episode was set in Warwickshire and starred Richard Lynch. The last episode is about a journey towards Warwickshire and one of the actors is Richard Lynch.
The lorry driver Roman is coming towards the end of his working day. He probably thinks he’s alone at first but he isn’t. As the lorry rumbles along the road it is talking, describing the journey they’re talking together and hoping Roman will complete it. The other voice is the computerised Nexus voice but she isn’t just a computerised voice. She has a personality and thoughts of her own and she expresses them when she is not telling Roman where to drive to next.
As the journey continues the lorry is really worried. Roman is known for having hallucinations. He had his first one when he was a little boy. They drive through a tunnel and Roman sees something that worries him. The lorry thinks it’s another hallucination and starts to wonder if Roman is really fit to drive. Nexus isn’t too happy with his driving either.
The cross is at the crossroads of two Roman roads. It is the site of one of the most horrible battles in the country. There are some descriptions of scenes of the battle which Roman sees. Not really hallucinations but ghosts. The scenes are descriptive and not very nice but they could be a lot more graphic. David Rudkin writes his plays in really beautiful language and that really helps because it makes it easier to listen to.
I think the play could maybe have been a bit shorter. It’s over an hour and even though the slowness to start does have the feeling of a long drive, I think it could have got to the main action a bit quicker. But it’s still really good. I love Richard Lynch as the lorry (I think he’s the lorry because I think I recognise his voice from the first episode). His voice is really deep and rumbly, just like a lorry. He’s a really clever lorry too. I like that idea. I wouldn’t expect a lorry to be clever because of the job it does but that’s prejudiced really. It’s like thinking Roman isn’t clever because he drives lorries and he definitely is. He is quite nervous in this story and he’s not really paying as much attention to the road as he could but you can’t really blame him when you think about the hallucinations. Tyrone Huggins expresses Roman’s emotions really well and he makes everything seem really real.
I think Hedydd Dylan does the Nexus voice. She’s not using her Welsh accent but her voice is quite light and high so I think it was her. She does the mechanical computerised voice perfectly but she still manages to put emotion into it and make Nexus into a character. Maria Louis appears right at the end with a kind of epilogue to the story. Even though she’s giving a speech and you don’t get to know her as a person at all, there is something in her voice that makes you want to listen.
I’m really sad this series has ended. It’s so good and the stories are so different and I’m sure there are loads of other places with stories to tell. It would be really difficult for David Rudkin to visit them now without getting into trouble but he’s obviously really interested in places and the stories around them so if he wrote a second series I would definitely want to listen to it.