The Booth

Aug 14 2023 | By More

★★★☆☆    Comic confusion

Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49): Fri 4 – Sun 13 Aug
Review by Allan Wilson

Edinburgh University Theatre Group’s The Booth takes a satirical, but affectionate, look back to the 1950s, when Foley artists ruled the airwaves, using household objects to create so many of the sound effects that brought radio drama to life.

The play is set in a contemporary radio festival, where a young team try to recreate a 1950s ghost story set in a country mansion as a radio drama, with the action switching between the present and the historic setting. Tensions within the cast spill between the time periods, creating a comic confusion.

The cast of The Booth. Pic: EUTC

As we begin, three actors are sitting at a table, with microphones and headsets. The Foley artist stands behind a second table covered with various props that will be used to create sound effects. Director Jay rushes onto the stage to try to take control.

Ted Ackery’s Jay is the director most actors hope to avoid, forever giving notes demanding more energy and emotion, but unable to explain exactly what he is wanting from a cast who have little respect for him. When individuals approach him looking for advice on how to play their parts, he is unable to help. Jay introduces the members of the cast to each other, probably unnecessary in reality, but useful for the audience.

Georgia Gabrielides plays Bea, who, in turn takes on the role of Judith within the radio play. Gabrielides plays Bea as a serious, conscientious actor, trying to understand the motivations behind the silly, shallow, posh Judith, but rebuffed when she tries to discuss the nuances of the part with the director.

Louis Whitell’s Zac portrays romantic lead Peter in the radio play. Zac is a cod philosopher, forever spouting what he considers to be words of wisdom about “practising the power of now” and “living in the moment”. He boasts about learning his acting skills at LAMDA, though it turns out he only attended a short summer course.

squelching destruction

Peter turns out to be a forgettable, one-dimensional lead, suggesting that Zac needed to spend more time at the London Academy. His most memorable scene is a moment of passion with Judith, with sound effects amusingly created by the squelching destruction of an orange.

A scene from The Booth. Pic: EUTC

Much of the comedy comes from Finn Vogels’ Digby, a would-be method actor so immersed in his part that he never comes out of character as the ‘country bumpkin’ caretaker of the mansion in the radio play. He insists on wearing work overalls and pushing a wheelbarrow on stage, speaking throughout in an exaggerated Yorkshire accent. He is forever stealing food required for effects from the prop table.

Josie Embleton plays Foley artist Sue who brings a sullen intelligence and skill to her work, but is constantly frustrated by the incompetence around her. She shares an enjoyable scene with Digby, when, exasperated by his refusal to step out of role, she interrogates him about his experiences of life in the 1940s and 50s.

Joseph Stramm’s Alan has just been appointed welfare officer for the production, ensuring that the cast members are comfortable and have appropriate breaks. He plays the role with enthusiasm, though he would probably prefer to be chatting about hip-hop with Zac. The others have no idea of what he is meant to be doing.

What little plot there is involves Peter and Judith spending a night in a mansion. Objects disappear and reappear – is the mansion haunted? There is a storm and somebody dies.

The Booth is probably not the play to watch if you are looking for a strong plot, but if you want to find out a little about the work of a Foley artist and have a few laughs, it is definitely worth a look.

Running time: 1 hour
Bedlam Theatre, 11b Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ (Venue 49)
Friday 4 – Sunday 13 Aug
Evenings: 5pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

EUTC Links


Instagram @ theboothfringe


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.