Tobias and the Angel
by James Bridie; producer Brian Matthew
12-14 December 1963
For once Brian Matthew stuck to directing rather than acting, producing a play based on The Book of Tobit, which appears in some but not all versions of the Bible.
The programme sets the action “before the reign of Ahasuerus”, which implies an optimistic view of the audience’s familiarity with ancient history. Most historians associate Ahasuerus with the Persian ruler Xerxes (486-465 BCE). The play, written in 1930, tells the story of Tobias son of Tobit, who has been exiled to Nineveh. Tobit sends Tobias on a journey to collect a debt, on which he is accompanied by a stranger who is in fact the archangel Raphael. The Kentish Times reviewer noted the play’s “coyness, comicality and leaps from almost farce to near piety”. He was particularly impressed by Robin Freeman as Raphael, adding praise for Philip Edwards as Tobias and Fiona MacDonald as Sara, the latter being “pretty and appealing and a hussy, all by turns”.