Reviewer: Selwyn Knight
The jolly good chaps (and gels) of The Fitzrovia Radio Hour return with their take on live radio drama from the golden days of the 1930s and 1940s. Five actors, immaculately dressed in formal evening wear, perform terribly proper (for the time) and hilariously un-PC tales of derring do and adventure. On entering, one can’t help but notice the wide range of household implements and fruit on display, apparently scattered randomly. These are all used to produce the live sound effects, for example, the trepanning of a man’s skull with the replacement of the removed section by a piece of crab shell (it does make sense, honest!). Those sitting on the front row may wish to wear waterproofs as fruit is used to recreate the sound of, for example, punches to the head. We meet a haunted cycle in Cambridge that possesses those with weaker resolve (a grammar school boy, of course, rather than the public school majority), and also, in an incredible piece of forward thinking, the adventures of a girl pilot who keeps her head while all around lose theirs.
All of this is brilliantly choreographed so that one can almost forget the stories to watch the precision movements of the cast from microphone to microphone to sound effect and back. However, there is also the hilarious subtext of rivalries among the cast, so that ultimately a potentially shocking event threatens to derail the live performance mid-broadcast. What to do? The cast valiantly try to be professional and continue, ultimately working together to deliver the happy ending we all hope to see.
Pure comedy gold, this has everything: clipped BBC accents, humour, precision choreography, unusual uses of fruit …
Runs until 27 August