The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, The Last Days of Decadence, London

4.00

Ripping yarns and jolly japes

The idea of recreating the recording of a radio show on stage as a dedicated theatrical and comic pursuit was pioneered by Michael Kingsbury and Brian Cooke with Round the Horne Revisited in 2003. Now enter The Fitzrovia Radio Hour who offer another nostalgic product, with their pastiches of 1940s radio drama, using completely original scripts.

The troupe consist of five – three men, two women – vocally and facially skilful performers, impeccably dressed and full of the vim of RP when they are not attempting to overplay regional or foreign accents.

Tonight they populate the airwaves with three ripping yarns: the tale of a boxer struggling to recreate past glories; the story of a couple trapped in a haunted house; and a caper involving the disappearance of the Eiffel Tower. Each of these tales is broken in two and returned to later, and then interrupted again by an interval and by faux advertisements for a whisky that has almost magical social-mixing powers.

Throughout each tale, a sound- effects table in the middle of the stage, where the tricks of the trade are laid out as if for a television-cookery show, is an important focal point. It never distracts, though, from the rapidly unfurling romps. From here the devices and gags that are dished out include a spinning top, used for the sound of a speedboat engine starting up, and bubblewrap, wrenched to sound like a neck being broken. Other soundscapes that emanate from the desk include, in one particularly effective scene, a gentleman's club recreated by tinkling glasses (four pencils in one glass), glugging sounds and shouts of "Inja" (India).

It's not all about sound for this radio show, of course, and the cast are equally effective ciphers for laughs with plenty of visual goofing. For example, in the tale of troubled boxer Ted Miller, his trainer and his romantic adversary are played by the same actor. In one scene it's only the swift removal and replacement of a scarf that differentiates between the two as they engage in a quickfire conversation.

Meanwhile, it's the hammy delivery of the lines in these Boy's Own-style tales that invests them with humour. The troupe use emphasis and accents to juice laughs from the lines rather than any deliberate, genre-clashing, heavy gagsmithing.

The final story of the show, "The Day They Stole The Eiffel Tower", is the most obviously loose when it comes to comedy and drama. It's reminiscent of an un-PC Peter Sellers outing and has a bowler-hatted Englishman, an Irishman and a Chinaman combining to outwit the French detective who owes some debt to 'Allo 'Allo!

With that kind of a collision of comedy heritage what could possibly go wrong? In the hands of this troupe the answer is nothing. The ingredients all add up to a clever and entertaining hour.

To 4 July, then new programme 6-25 July (fitzroviaradio.com)

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence