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The Fitzrovia Radio Hour

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julian Hall

Quick off the bat after a long London run of a previous show, The Fitzrovia Radio Hour are making their Fringe debut this year.

Their RP-infused recipe involves a quintet of performers parodying the style of Forties radio plays complete with all the 'whistles and bells' of live sound effects.

A normal serving of this retro romp would involve three radio plays chopped in half and interspersed with sponsor’s messages, in this case Rose's Carbolic Soap that, as we are told in song, helps stave off body odour. But in this show there are just two main plays, The Man Who Was Ten Minutes Late, where an RAF airman creates a German doppelganger after breaking the sound barrier and Mudmen From The Thames, where clay monstrosities threaten to wreak havoc in London. A third portion is supplied by The Four Minute Mystery which is exactly what it says it is.

The latter is a fun bit of throwaway japery but also necessary to cut down the troupe’s normal 90 minute running time to fit the Edinburgh hour-long format. It's a pity that the sacrifice has to be made because the contrast with the recent London run makes me less disposed to this show, enjoyable though it is.

I feel that the Fitzrovians needed a third go at letting their subtle brand of humour properly solidify on their nonetheless appreciative Fringe audience. The trademark wit is still there for sure; gentle and ironic pot shots at English imperialist attitudes, (for example highlighting a condescending attitude towards the Welsh and Irish), a dash of inter-class joshing, some adroitly done regional accents and plenty of fun sound effects for us to enjoy

A potentially four-star show in a three star format is one way of looking at it, but anyone in need of a some polite respite from stand up or sub-standard sketch should definitely give the Fitzrovians a whirl.

Review date: 24 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julian Hall

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