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Fringe Online 2020

Black Shuck

Blackshaw Theatre Company

Genre: Radio Play

Venue: Wandsworth Arts Fringe in your living room


Low Down

Martha and Art are awaiting a delivery. It is not a normal delivery in a normal place as they are skulking at the coast, waiting for drugs off a boat from Holland. Art is married to Martha’s sister. Martha is clearly the main contact for the boat and the interplay between their car and the boat by radio is the major driver of the drama. In between the relationship between brother in law and sister in law is exposed and explored with little elements of the breakdown between them never that far away. Art has chosen this site for the drop off because he knows the area from his childhood. He also knows the legend of the Black Shuck, a huge black dog that has sinister connotations which he tells Martha to while away the hours; she is not impressed. When a night fisherman, having lost his dog, goes in search of his dog, things nearly go to pot. That, however, is only the set up to a plot twist that you could see coming in one sense but it hits you with a double dose of surprises at the end; the major winner of the episode is the one person who is never there!


Having to podcast, for some, might be an issue but Blackshaw seem to be old hands at this. There is a delicate balance between the drama being recorded and the visual elements being drawn that they do in a highly effective manner. Both Rachel Nott as Martha and Alexander Pankhurst as Art are exceptional storytellers, managing the right amount of interplay whilst keeping the story moving to draw you in.

They have been exceptionally well directed to bring the peaks and troughs that we would associate onstage and visually into our ears. There are pauses and tonal changes throughout that keep your interest peaked.

The story itself does struggle to match their abilities and there are some areas where the script lags a little. Of course, being stuck in a car for a long period of time, may lead to a lot of introspection but not a great deal of dramatic opportunity, but it is the dramatic choice.

The radio messages are well handled and give us enough jeopardy to keep the tension high but the coup de grace is delivered right at the end. Just as I thought, oh here we go, I saw this coming, they hit you with another ending which I didn’t see.

Overall, this is a great hour of entertainment with an amusing and intriguing take that won’t terrify you but should get you hitting the subscribe button for some more as this was episode 95 in a run of them… In fact…done…