The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, Trafalgar Studios, London
Tuesday 18 January 2011
The new show from this troupe of bright young things brings forth three more pastiches of 1940s radio plays, each cut in half and served up on rotation and each accompanied by the sight of sound effects being created using a range of objects including mallets, cabbages doorknobs, crisps and a pair of rubber gloves doubling as bats.
"Undead Queen of Evil!", a horror story about an undead leader of a lost civilisation, "Captain Fasthand and the Rooty Gong", where British and German soldiers race for treasure in 1945 India and "He Should Have Known His Place", the downfall of a working-class Leeds man who is criticised for reaching beyond his status but is a victim of conspiracy, are tonight's simulated blasts from Britain's imperial and class-structured past. These two-act plays are run in a mirror image order [1,2,3 then second halves as 3,2,1] and sandwiched between their halves go adverts for a pharmaceutical remedy that has a definite echo of a range of contemporary recreational drugs.
The authentic feel of all this is something of a hurdle for the comedy as the tight narrative of these well-honed yarns affords too little opportunity to goof around; in fact, almost none in "He Should Have Known His Place". "Rooty Gong" and "Undead Queen of Evil!" offer more caper-some opportunities and in "Rooty Gong" this is done with some camp German soldiers straight out of 'Allo 'Allo'. In "Undead Queen of Evil!", a joke about one character unable to learn that ancient tombs are called sarcophagus is the repeated motif.
This is a disappointing outing from this smart outfit. Newcomers to the Fitzrovians will be impressed with the sound effects and vocal dexterity of the cast, and rightly so, but this is set against diminishing returns for their dashing and derring-do.
To 5 February (0844 871 7632); then touring ( fitzroviaradio.com)
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Glastonbury 2015 tickets: How to make sure you’re successful in Sunday's re-sale
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling