Another Dose of Radio Comedy

Date 30th April 2022
Society Heath Players
Venue Hatfield Heath Institute
Type of Production Play
Director Steve Foster and Mark Ratcliff
Musical Director N/A
Choreographer N/A

Report

Author: Decia Ranger

It’s always a pleasure to review shows for this society.  On this occasion they had chosen to perform an episode from each of two radio plays.  Their usual venue being unavailable they had moved to the smaller Institute which was ideal for this type of production. The audience were closer to the action and as there were no costume or scene changes, the lack of back stage space did not appear to be an issue. The cast entering from the back of the hall, through the centre gangway and onto the stage worked well.

The first offering was “The Married Man” an episode from “After Henry” by Simon Brett. Now I have to admit that this series was not familiar to me but I did find this episode extremely funny.  A widow, Sarah (Jaki Newman)), her young adult daughter Clare (Becky Vincent) and her mother Eleanor (Renee Joyce) are all living under the same roof, albeit each in their own apartment. Eleanor has heard rumours about an affair with a married man and not wanting to interfere but doing just that, decides to find out what’s going on.  A caller who rings off when she answers the phone and a familiar car seen parked outside a motel are enough to arouse her suspicions while leading to the wrong conclusion. Sarah meanwhile takes refuge at the second-hand bookshop where she works, sharing the mangled and somewhat exhausting story of the goings on at home with her employer Russell (Adam Thompson) much to his amusement. This was gentle humour very well executed.

Following the interval we were treated to an episode of “Steptoe & Son” entitled “Séance in a Wet Rag and Bone Yard”.  Albert (Steve Foster) has been getting dressed up and going out in the evening on a regular basis.  Harold (Clive Weatherley) is naturally curious, even more so when he discovers his father is visiting a medium and taking part in séances.  Not only that, Albert has arranged for a séance to be held in their home.  Dorothy (Ginny Elliston) and Madame Fontana (Mita Upadhyaya) duly arrive and what follows is absolutely hilarious.  This was laugh out loud comedy, with the two main characters sounding exactly as I remember them.

This being radio there was the added entertainment of watching and listening to Roger Newman and Derek Foster, otherwise known as The Men in Hats, providing all the background noises, whilst seated at their table, stage left.  From the sound of ice cubes falling into glasses to the rumble of thunder and so much more.  I can only imagine the laughs this must have caused during rehearsals. 

Mark Ratcliff was the radio announcer, attired in dinner jacket in keeping with all announcers and news readers who went on air during the evening.  They were of course never seen and the insistence of formal dress was dropped many years ago.  Here though it added a touch of class.

This was a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment.  Well done to all involved and thank you for inviting me.