The Fitzrovia Radio Hour

Wednesday 24th October 2012  Doors 7.00pm start 7.30pm Tickets £12

Seabright Productions and Fitzrovia Productions present

The Fitzrovia Radio Hour

Featuring three radio plays performed live including:

George Albion & the War of the Roses,

Nazi Firemen in Westminster and

Tin!

Following sell-out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and 2011, their first national tour and a West End season, The Fitzrovia Radio Hour tours the UK with a new show.

Celebrating an age when radio was brand new and radio drama was stuffed with more stereotypes and cut-glass accents than afternoon tea at Lords, the show’s writer/performers use new material to recreate the spirit of vintage radio plays for a modern audience.

Vowels are as neatly clipped as the gentlemen’s moustaches, upper lips as stiff as their shirt collars,

and emotions are kept as concealed as a woman’s knee… Huzzah for the Empire’s finest!’ Mail On Sunday

The show will include three rip-roaring tales: George Albion & the War of the Roses, Nazi Firemen in Westminster and Tin!All are new yet delightfully reminiscent of the golden age of radio. Witness vegetables simulating fistfights, thrill to a whisky bottle which is a dead ringer for a Nazi midget submarine and gasp at a watering can playing the roaring Atlantic. All these sound effects, and more, are created live on stage! This new show is sponsored by Clipstone Ceylon Tea!

The Fitzrovians revel in the glamour of a bygone era, from costume and performance to props. They transport audiences to their unique universe – a wonderful imagining of how commercial 1940s radio should have been done. The Fitzrovia Radio Hour lovingly satirise the casual imperialism and stiff upper lips of the period, throwing them into relief with physical comedy and a modern twist to produce a heady comic cocktail.

Absolutely spiffing show that recreates the innocent spirit of Forties live radio drama.’ Telegraph ****

The troupe began in 2008, when founding members restaged vintage radio plays from America. They enjoyed wearing pencil moustaches so much that they were inspired to write original material in a period style. Since then they have won widespread acclaim and performed extensively to sold-out houses including a season at Trafalgar Studios and a year-long residency at Shakespeare’s Globe, London (Swan at The Globe / Underglobe).

Dramatic entertainment redolent of a bygone era… recreates its chosen era with just the right mixture of fondness and irreverence… jolly good show, chaps!’The Guardian

The Fitzrovia Radio Hour is written and performed by Jon Edgley Bond, Tom Mallaburn,Phil Mulryne, Martin Pengelly and Alex Ratcliffe. The show is directed by Phoebe Barran.

Dust down your dinner jacket and book your tickets now by visiting Waterstones Kettering, Tourist Information Kettering, or contacting Becky on willsbecky@googlemail.com to reserve tickets, or buy online here

Tickets are priced at £12

Find out more at Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s website: www.fitzroviaradio.co.uk

Join in the fun at: www.facebook.com/Fitzrov ia

and Twitter: www.twitter.com/Fitzroviaradio

See a YouTube Trailer: From their Edinburgh Show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY-L5PtdmZ8

and a clip from the Review Show: http://www.fitzroviaradio.co.uk/thereviewshow.html

* Please note that some of the material performed may vary from this list:The Fitzrovia Radio Hour will occasionally perform alternative stories to those listed as part of the shows.

Press Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

23 August 2010

Dominic Cavendish

Rating: **** 

Absolutely spiffing teatime show that recreates the innocent, clipped, Bulldog Drummond spirit of Forties live radio drama, with a skilled company of six stepping up their retro mics to unfold such ripping yarns as The Man Who Was Ten Minutes Late, Mudmen from the Thames and The Four-Minute Mystery. A Joy.

Mail on Sunday

5 September 2010

By Steve Bennett

Rating: ****

Ripping yarns from the Empire

There was a time when the only DJs allowed on the radio were the dinner jackets the BBC’s refined announcers would don before addressing a grateful nation.

This is the golden era The Fitzrovia Radio Hour harks back to with an affectionate recreation of Forties wireless adventures, broadcast live from ‘the bustling heart of Empire’. Vowels are as neatly clipped as the gentlemen’s moustaches, upper lips as stiff as their shirt collars, and emotions are kept as concealed as a woman’s knee.

The tales of derring-do, designed to ‘thrill, terrify and inspire’, are inspired by Dick Barton and are untroubled by political correctness, giving the charming troupe plenty of scope to employ hammy foreign accents on the knowing, witty scripts.

‘Mudmen from the Thames’, a melodramatic escapade, is advertised as a fight against a ‘dusky-hued invasion’, while reference is made to such fantastical evil creatures as ‘goblins, pygmies, gypsies and the Irish’. Luckily, help is at hand against these villains from Professor Quested and his assistant who is – shock! – a woman.

Another yarn, ‘The Man Who Was Ten Minutes Late’, tells of the dangers of meddling with science, when a flying ace becomes the first man to break the sound barrier – creating a clone of himself that is not just evil, but a German.

This nostalgic production, which visits Wilton’s Music Hall in London and the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames this month, is elegant, if static due to its confinement to a radio studio. But there’s fun to be had with the sound effects, representing anything from a rattling fighter plane to construction work on the Rotherhithe Tunnel, using just household implements. The cast of five are suitably aloof, focused on the serious job of enthralling the listening public, so any slight crack in their po-faces represents a triumph of wordless entertainment, whether it be Alix Dunmore’s child-like excitement as her big part approaches, or Tom Mallaburn’s contempt for the sound-effect work. Every performance, meticulously directed by Jon Edgley Bond, is perfectly precise.

Even though this is ostensibly radio, characters are demarcated with basic costumes; leading to the spectacle of one actor voicing two people in conversation, switching between hats on every line. This reaches an apex in the manic, if confusing ‘Four-Minute Mystery’, which – along with adverts for sponsor Roses Carbolic Soap (‘It halts body odour’) – breaks up the ripping yarns.

Huzzah for the Empire’s finest!

The Artsdesk

23 August 2010

Veronica Lee

Rating: ****

The performers’ evening dress and clipped accents tell us that we are in a 1940s radio studio and so it proves, as, just before they go on air, the producer asks us ever so politely to turn off our “field communications devices” – a neat touch in a spoof that gets historical details just right, but sees them through a very modern eye.
The Fitzrovia Radio Hour (written and performed by Alix Dunmore, Jon Edgley Bond, Tom Mallaburn, Phil Mulryne, Ton Pengelly and Alex Ratcliffe), consists of three mystery plays punctuated by singing ads for soap products. It could all be original material, so well-observed is it, and the sound effects – all done on stage before us – are a consistent joy. There’s also a lovely running gag involving hats – the performers can’t speak their roles without donning appropriate headgear – and the casual xenophobia and imperialist attitudes of the day are nicely slotted into the mix.
This is a lovingly crafted and beautifully acted show. If an hour of spoof 1940s comedy is your thing, you will love it.

Fringe Guru

14 August 2010

Trystan Davies

Rating: ****

Did video kill the radio star?  If The Fitzrovia Radio Hour is anything to go by, then no.  Just go back to the 1940’s, when radio waves were cutting-edge and imagination was everything. Luckily, the Fitzrovians do this for us.

Fitzrovia are three gents and two ladies who, like many comedians, believe that the straight-laced and stuffy are there to be laughed at.  This is done at a 1940’s-style studio using period costume, props, and accompanying accents.

The Radio Hour is story time, and my favourite tale was the dramatic Mudmen From The Thames, which had pacey momentum, energy and great timing.  As with any lampoon everything’s exaggerated, but the Fitzrovians manage to understate this so it doesn’t become silly or insulting.  The few but funny jokes on war-time prejudice (for example, against women and regional accents) prove that less is definitely more.

The show got over its message that 1940’s radio was quaint, quirky – but hilariously restrained at the same time.  It was also full of the charm and authenticity of early radio entertainment, managing to balance mockery and respect to create an unique package. So, be a good chap, switch off your black-and-white TV… and tune into the thrilling tales of The Fitzrovia Radio Hour!

Fringe Review

29 August 2010

Tim Wilcock

Rating: ****

Low Down

A glorious hour of radio as it used to be. Men in formal dress, woman nicely in their place and ripping yarns just full of bravado. All topped off with wondrously created sound effects. Simply top-hole entertainment, don’t you know!

Review

Remember the days when radio presenters wore formal attire and the resonant tones of RP tumbled forth from the crackling radiogram in the corner of the sitting room? Well, the Fitzrovia Radio Hour re-creates the glory days of the radio play, live on air with the complicit audience being given their marching orders through cue cards (“cheer”, “applause”, “groan”) as we embark on an hour of nostalgic comedy.

Three thrilling tales involving great British daring-do are presented for our delectation and delight. Two are neatly interwoven to keep us in suspense until the end of the show with “The Fitzrovia Four Minute Mystery” inserted to spice things up mid-way through. Not that our interest was ever in danger of waning as the cast of five (three gentlemen and two most refined ladies) whizzed around the stage in the finest traditions of the radio play, scripts in hand, sound effects at the ready.

And that’s where this play really scored a hit. Throughout each tale the cast used a centre table of props to create their own sound effects. You name it, they produced it – a mud monster, a jet aircraft bursting through the speed of sound, clocks chiming, doors opening and closing – the list is almost endless. But the show isn’t just about people having jolly japes with wooden knockers. It’s also about three very different and engaging radio plays, all beautifully delivered by this high quality troupe. The cast use accents, hammy delivery, vivid facial gestures and just about every other trick in the acting book as they turn the dry words on the page into wonderfully humorous and well-crafted stories.

Their skill as performers really came to the fore in the rapid-fire, four minute mystery play. Swapping headgear to indicate a change of character with split-second timing and displaying similar alacrity when it came to injecting the sound effects, our quintet raced through the script with the denouement being delivered in a final, breathless rush.

And the whole production was generously supported by Rose’s Carbolic Soap, guaranteed to prevent those unseemly smells associated with body odour. These faux ads were inserted at regular intervals, as you might expect with any radio show, and were all the funnier for being repeated.

This was simple, effervescent theatre delivered with aplomb by a talented and charismatic cast. Never for an instant slipping from character, they created an atmosphere where we could have easily been a live studio audience watching the creation of a 1940’s radio recording. They say that nostalgia’s not what it was, but this was a great hour of entertainment for all the family. Can’t say fairer than that.

Broadway Baby

21 August 2010

Amy Crothers

Rating: ****

Lie Back and Think of England

Two plucky and resourceful gals and three authentically moustachioed chaps, the Fitzrovia Radio Show present an earnest and hilarious tribute to the Radio Golden Days of the 1940s Imperial Britain.

The show is dedicated for the most part to tales from the heart of the ‘Great British Empire’: brilliantly outdated science fiction adventures such as The Man Who Was Ten Minutes Late and The Mudmen from the Thames, performed in black tie with wonderfully clipped imperial accents. It perhaps seems odd to so appreciate the costuming of a so-called ‘radio show’, but the way in which every detail was thought out in costuming, scripting and interaction was spot on. Everything they did entered into the spirit of 1940s penny dreadful perfection.

With fears of science, continual lambasting of the Germans and a fair dollop of casual sexism and racism – or ‘casual imperialism’, as the group themselves so accurately call it – the show was carried off with conviction and earnestness. From the accents and costuming, to the final salute to the ‘greatest city on our globe’, accompanied by a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen, one can’t help but enjoy the undemanding spirit of the wonderfully, beautifully, imperially-melodramatic Fitzrovia Radio Hour.

The New Current

11 August 2010

Rating: *****

There are some shows that come to the Fringe that are not only inspired but also ingenius in their creativity, delivery, and scope. I can say this with total confidence and no fear or contradiction that The Fitzrovia Radio Hour is the BEST show at this years Fringe festival, not one of the best, simply the best show you are likely to see!

The show has already been going down a storm in London with sellout shows leading up to their stint at the Fringe and it’s evident why. Based on the radio plays of the 1940s The Fitzrovia Radio Hour takes place in your typical radio studio of the day with a cast so superb they will leave you speechless. The set is heavy with loads of costumes, props, and classic microphones.

The Hour consists of: The Man Who Was Ten Minutes Late, The Four Minute Mystery, and Mudmen From The Thames, all supported by Roses Carbolic Soap – the radio commercials they do for Roses Carbolic Soap are wonderful. The cast, also writers of the play, bring to life the radio voices of the day with a frightening realness. The audience is treated much like the radio audience of the day (there is a wonderful bit at the start where the placards to cue the audience) and after the first 10 minutes you are gripped, sitting on the edge of your seat as the dramas, comedy, and commercials for Roses Carbolic Soap float by.

This is a standard of performing that is more than an honour to watch but a privilege to witness. The actors seamlessly take on a multitude of characters and a pace that will simply stun an audience. One of the highlights of the show was the Four Minute Mystery – I’m not going to try and give this justice with words, when you see it trust me you will be left breathless at their stamina, timing, and ability.

With a show with such a high pace and gentle humour could be forgiven for having one or two hick-ups yet the entire hour went off without any hitches. The actors remain silent through the whole show and you only get a slight look here and there and sometimes they can be seen whispering things to each other but because the show is ‘live’ in the studio they have to be quiet. There are some moments where there is a franticness that can only be achieved with a show and performers who have ensured that they have tuned their show to within an inch of its life.

What The Fitzrovia Radio Hour proves is if you have a great script, an ingenious idea, and a cast of incredible performers, you can produce a show that will be unique and breathtaking. The Fitzrovia Radio Hour is in a league of it’s own, truly stunning theatre that will make you laugh!

The Sunday Times

21 August 2011

By Stephen Armstrong

The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, a spoof live broadcast of a 1940s radio thriller. The cast of five delights in the conceit, creating sound effects with pipes, bottles, buckets and bolts. Each skit tells tales of derring-do as aristocratic sleuths foil mysterious serial murderers, schoolboys trap Nazi spies and, in an affectionate send­up of the ludicrous 1970s action movie Gold, Cornish tin mines flood on speculators’ whims. It’s all delivered just the right side of ridiculous.

Whatsonstage.Com

11 August 2011

By Julie Raby

Rating: *****

Theatregoers become the broadcast audience of Second World War radio show The Fitzrovia Radio Hour in this comedy sketch show in the style of ‘daring do’ and the Boy’s Own books.

Although a radio show – peppered with adverts for Clipstone Ceylon Tea – its strength is in the visual. What you are hearing is not what you see on stage. One of the most amusing aspects is the interaction between the presenters who are clearly falling out with each other, drinking on stage and have their own set of relationships, which they try to hide this from the audience.

The sound effects are created in both obvious and ingenious ways, including the inventive use of a melon and a grapefruit.

Exploring and challenging stereotypes, The Fitzrovia Radio Hour makes ironic comment on Englishness, class and attitudes to women through its historical lens.

The show’s hour-long slot is fully exploited, the timing is excellent and each episode builds on the last, taking the joke just that little bit further. A highly engaging, clever and a thoroughly enjoyable hour.

Three Weeks

14 August 2011

Rating: ****

Jolly good! We’re in the 1940s listening to stories on the wireless! This fantastically well-produced show takes us back to the time of British propaganda and recreates everyday sounds with grapefruits, hairdryers, whiskey bottles and the like, to accompany radio dramas. The astoundingly versatile cast shift from Northern miner to bumbling child to Nazi fireman effortlessly; yet all the while, they remain stiff-postured British broadcasters. A great and detailed display is put on, creating a ceaseless tension between watching and listening. Perfectly laced with humour that does not overpower and sponsorship ads that only intensify the realism, this show has proved itself to be an awfully-terribly-frightfully British success.

British Theatre Guide

14 August 2011

By Amy Yorston

Rating: ****

If you have a love of radio drama or old fashioned comedy then this is a show for you. The company create – before your very eyes – not one but four short radio melodramas swapping accents, hats and genders. Set in a radio studio complete with ‘on air’ signage, this fast paced performance contains as much verbal wit as dexterity.

The talented cast do not just provide the voices however; they also provide all of the sound effects which are both ingenious, authentic sounding and comical. Audience involvement is also encouraged with cue boards held up for effects such as ‘general hub bub.’ Whilst hugely entertaining the technical skills and timing involved in this show cannot be underappreciated and it is the marriage of the two which makes it such a rewarding experience.

One Response to The Fitzrovia Radio Hour

  1. Pingback: An Absolutely Spiffing October coming up at Kettering Arts Centre! |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s