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Radioplay review at Lyric Hammersmith Studio London

Ed Gaughan’s performance piece, previously seen as a one-hour solo show at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe, has been expanded with the addition of some new material, film sequences, a long interval and a live jazz trio punctuating its scenes with a half-dozen songs, resulting in a very, very thin two hour show.

The driver of an all-night coach from Penzance to London amuses himself and keeps his passengers awake with a running commentary that begins with little in-jokes and mock tourist guides but then moves into the fanciful memory of a great-uncle who was a radio pioneer in America. This allows Gaughan to leave the wheel and play his uncle, running the radio station, doing the on-air announcements and all the voices in a radio play, and even playing and singing along with the band.

The driver character’s scenes are clever, and the radio pastiches are fun for a while. But Gaughan and his co-writers quickly run out of material and some of the sequences, like a mad scientist’s history of music or an extended one-joke gangster parody, are stretched far too long, while the few attempts at seriousness or character depth, as in the radio man’s decline when television arrived, have no resonance at all. The overall effect is of a few workable five-minute sketches combined with some irrelevant if pleasant live music, stretched far beyond their natural running time.

Production Information

Lyric Hammersmith Studio, London, October 7-25

Andrew Buckley, Ed Gaughan, Wes Williams, with additional material by Hamish McColl and Nick Whitfield
Wes Williams
Peter Smith
Ed Gaughan, Christine Tobin, Phil Robson, Dave Whitford
Running time

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