04:17PM, Wednesday 10 October 2018
There’s something very nice about sitting back to be told a story, especially when it’s deliciously creepy.
Mystery On Air brings three sinister movie plots to the stage but presented as a radio drama. It may sound a little strange but a good yarn can suit a pared-down style.
The stage is set as a 1930s radio studio, with an ‘On Air’ warning light, chairs grouped round old fashioned mics, an on-stage sounds effects engineer and six actors playing, er, actors.
There’s a funny introduction by actor Roy Marsden setting the scene, I know it was funny because I could hear laughter but unfortunately a lady sitting near me was overcome by a coughing fit. An usher offered her water – something I’ve never witnessed at a performance and thought was excellent customer service – so soon we were all sitting comfortably, ready to be discomfited.
The actors told three stories range from the mirky and menacing to all-out melodrama. The White Rose murders is set in foggy London of the 1950s, in Lyons cafes and the streets of Soho. You find yourself looking at the actors and picturing it in your heard at the same time.
House By The River is set by the Thames and sees Matthew Cottle and Sue Holderness play a narcissistic poet and his wife. Daniel Casey is the long suffering brother and Elizabeth Payne plays shy servant Emily Gaunt, who could have been named by Dickens.
There’s a lot of comedy in watching the sound effects being created and seeing the actors’ reactions to their scripts.
My favourite of the three tales was The Dangerous Game, where a big game hunter is shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Roy Marsden does a fantastic evil laugh, later echoed by Jenny Seagrove in her wonderful throaty voice. It had us all laughing, nervously.
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