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Monday, April 2, 2012
Radio is often seen as a poor relation to television, but for the skilled actors of the Fitzrovia Radio Hour it is clearly anything but.
Turning the clock back to the 1940s, the show takes the form of an imaginary broadcast of a radio drama.
Weaving together multiple – and increasingly unlikely – stories, the cast, all dressed in evening wear and with cut-glass accents to match, perform the sound effects live as well as delivering their lines.
The timing is slick and impressive, the sounds startlingly inventive: a bolt lock becomes a gun being reloaded, a rubber bath mat a flailing monster from the deep.
The tight five-strong cast cover a bewildering range of characters, with occasional half-costumes helping the audience (and perhaps the actors) remember who is whom.
It’s a charming and diverting show: gently humorous, technically clever, and not overdone.
The scripts, however, do lack something; as artefacts they remind us how far broadcast drama has come, as pastiche they don’t quite achieve the surreal level of artifice needed to satirise the style of the day.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with a simple idea, smartly and adeptly executed.