Radioplay is a one-man show devised by Ed Gaughan, the Oxford academic Wes Williams and Andrew Buckley. Developed during the established BAC scratch sessions, it is a surreal, disorientating hybrid of theatre, stand-up comedy, film and jazz concert.
The nocturnal journey provides much of the comedy through the character of Francis. He makes his singsong announcements in a West Country burr and dispenses his own brand of pop philosophy from the trolley along with the Panda Pops and serving up hilarious observations on everything from the intricacies of regional swearing to Bob Marley.
There is a change in gear from this gentle character comedy when Francis embarks on a parallel journey, recounting the history of his Uncle Richard, an early radio broadcaster in New York. His story is told mainly through grainy black-and-white film, with an evocative jazz soundtrack. It touches on a whole spectrum of themes from Catholicism and the IRA to alcoholism and the advent of television, which leads to Richard's downfall - Francis poignantly describes him as "shut down, not transmitting any more".
It is in the radio booth that Richard's story really comes to life as we are treated to snippets from his varied broadcasts, including gangster stories, an entirely blasphemous but very funny interview with God and a lecture on music from the sinister Dr Scientist.
Gaughan produces a masterful and mind-boggling performance, taking on all these roles, from the West Country driver Francis and the Irish radio pioneer Richard to God, plus a whole mob of gangsters (and the ringleader's mother), Lassie and even Chet Baker, revealing his talent as a jazz musician.
In a startlingly energetic performance, he inhabits each character and voice absolutely, incorporating a talent for accents and impressions with hysterical physical comedy. The 90-minute journey passes with entertaining speed.
To 25 September (020-7223 2223); then touring to 9 November (www.flywheelproductions.co.uk)Reuse content