Brighton Fringe 2009
Well written radio scripts by writers from the South East, performed by excellent actors from Brighton, in an ‘old school’ radio theatre style.
This is a collection of radio scripts written by local writers and performed in an ‘old school’ radio theatre style by Brighton actors. The actors will vary throughout the run. On the first night the actors were: Emma Kilbey, Janet Hewlett Davis, Jaqueline Gilbride, Nicholas Gilbrook, Marcus Hutton and David Fielder. The piece was directed by Victoria Gould and sound effects provided, live, by Jo Howarth. The plays: Wood Green by Dawn King, A Good Confession by Bridget Wheelan, Jobsworth by Charlie Hughes D’eath, Drown the Witch by Jeremy Fielding, and The Madamoiselle Mysteries #47, by a mystery writer (?)
There’s a very informal atmosphere in the Hive tent. There are seven actors on stage, six scripts, a plethora of sound equipment and a sound artist, and of course the audience, who get to play their part. The set up is that, when it’s their turn to speak, the actors take their place in front of one of the two microphones, script in hand. Sound effects are produced using anything from the actor’s voices to children’s toys. The first play, Wood Green, is the haunting story of a man, struggling with his job and personal life, who meets a mysterious, shoeless woman from the ‘underground’. A Good Confession is an Irish romance of the forbidden kind. Jobs Worth is a beautifully paced and cleverly observed monologue from a woman who contemplates her marriage and the colour of her carpet. Drown the Witch, is a Monty Pythonesque look at the ethics of dunking a witch, including audience participation and a delightful twist (and particularly good sound effects). Last but not least The Mademoiselle Mysteries #47 is a bawdy romp set in 1890 in a Bridlington Music Hall. This is full of double entendre, and has my favourite line of the night, in song form, ‘When should a turnip not be trusted…’.
Having never been to a live radio show, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I wondered if it would be boring to watch plays that are, essentially, written to be heard. However, the whole set up is thoroughly entertaining, particularly watching the creation of the delightful sound effects. It has been rehearsed to the extent that it flows and we can appreciate the plays and performances, but there is an appropriate air of spontaneity that makes it fresh and fun. All the writing is of a high standard and there is great variety in subject and style.
The performances are thoroughly engaging and it’s always a joy to see really good, versatile actors play the moment, interpreting scripts with skill and playfulness. As an audience member I felt very much included, particularly in the participation, but in the event as a whole. I talked to Dermot Keaney, who produced this event and is running The Hive venue. He said that the idea of ‘Radio City’ came from one of those Brighton conversations, ‘there are so many good actors, so many good writer’s…wouldn’t it be great to…’. One of those ideas that often remains a thought. I, for one, am very glad that this thought has been pursued, and has become an engaging and thoroughly entertaining reality.
Come and see it at the Festival and look out for more events like this at The Brunswick in the future.