Radio 69

August 19, 2021 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆      Frothy

theSpace @ Symposium Hall (Venue 43): Mon 16 – Sat 21 Aug 2021
Review by Hugh Simpson

There is enough liveliness and verve in Radio 69, presented by the Counterminers at theSpace at Symposium Hall, for several Fringe shows. However, a corresponding attention to detail is not always present.

The story of a struggling radio station, supposedly in the Scottish Borders, is charming enough, but is rather buried in a huge mound of extraneous business. This is really more of a string of sketches with some of the content – breezy radio adverts, the misadventures of a bizarre ‘local celebrity’ named Filthy Phil, a drag impersonation of Nicola Sturgeon – having only the most tenuous connection to the whole.

A scene from Radio 69. Pic The Counterminers

The production is billed as ‘an irreverent queer comedy’, aimed at 16 plus, but there is little here that would shock anyone. The two sweetly played romantic sub-plots do feature four women, but otherwise it is oddly reminiscent of a pantomime (albeit one with some rather more fruity language).

While Hollie Avery is credited with taking the lead on writing the show, this is very much a devised piece, with all of the ten-strong cast credited as directors and others involved in the writing. This is both the piece’s main strength and its greatest failing.

On the plus side, there is an abundance of ideas, with jokes and situations arriving in rapid succession, which gives the production a frothy energy and makes it whizz along. However, this determination to give everybody something to do means that there is a distinct lack of focus or clear intent.

successful comic performances

There is a delicacy to the will-they-won’t-they relationship of radio co-hosts Ash (Avery) and Amy (Kiara Mason) that is mirrored by the more comedic pairing of Frankie (Poppy Goad) and Pippa (Emer Williams). However, these stories are somewhat drowned out by extraneous noise – Frankie and Pippa in particular are presented as such figures of fun, and such appalling radio presenters, that their story is little more than an afterthought.

A scene from Radio 69. Pic The Counterminers

There are successful comic performances elsewhere – Lewis Forman’s revolting station owner, Tom Creswell’s ludicrous Filthy Phil, and particularly Jamie Cushing as dancing cleaner Doug. Cushing is clearly an excellent performer of physical comedy, a talent that could have been utilised more.

Technically, this performance is well realised. In particular, Mallory Smith deserves credit for their sound management in a venue where noise from a neighbouring outside stage is a real issue.

This is a cheery, enthusiastically played affair. In the end, it depends on whether you consider the name ‘Radio 69’ hilarious, or find the words ‘IPA brewery’ intrinsically funny. If you do, you will have a ball. Otherwise, this will appear to be a likeable but inconsequential production.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
theSpace at Symposium Hall, Hill Square, EH8 9DR (venue 43)
Monday 16 – Saturday 21 August 2021
Daily at 7.05 pm

Information and tickets at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/radio-69
Company website: https://counterminers.co.uk
Facebook: @TheCounterminers
Twitter: @counterminers

A scene from Radio 69. Pic The Counterminers

ENDS

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