Review: Fitzrovia Radio Hour

Do you know what makes the best sound effect for someone being clocked over the head with a blunt instrument? No? Then you’ve missed a treat. But hopefully not for long.

There’s plenty written about this wonderful show elsewhere, so let’s just cover what you might like to know. The group has written a bunch of hammy, melodramatic radio plays in 1940s style, and the show consists of watching the 5-6 actors ‘recording’ the show for radio broadcast. So you get to enjoy the show on two levels – the implausible plays themselves, and then the frantic scurrying and interactions between the actors as they do the recording. They are masters of period detail, accents and sound effects – and yes, it’s funny. I laughed so loudly at one point that I had to apologise to the audience, and it was our second time seeing them. It’s an odd mix – sharp, knowing humour mixed with a bit of slapstick from the quick, physical effort needed for the crew to play all the parts. It’s a bit Footlights, a bit clever, but not obnoxiously so. Doing well enough to transfer from random tiny venues like Last Days of Decadence to Trafalgar Studios, a grown-up theatre, albeit in the smaller space there.

Annoyingly I realise the London run is over – finished on 5 Feb, which isn’t that helpful (should have started the blog sooner). But they are about to embark on a UK tour. And they will be back – no doubt about that.

(And for those of you who are interested… It’s a man-sized stick smashed into a halved cabbage. Red cabbage, white cabbage, green cabbage – all cabbages sound like they bleed the same way.)

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