REVIEW: RADIOMAN (Old Red Lion Theatre)

Last night, tucked away in a small theatre above the Old Red Lion pub, a masterpiece was unveiled.

Radioman is one of the most beautiful, intelligent and innovative pieces of theatre I have seen in years. Very rarely does writing, sound, lighting and set come together so seamlessly that you don’t see them as different mediums within a play, but instead, one gorgeous piece of art. This is no doubt a success thanks to Tom Crowley’s direction of Felix Trench’s wonderfully written play. It is flawlessly put together and you can see the love and care in which Crowley has considered how each element of the show needs to fit to create the mesmerising world we were transported to, and he does so with absolute ease and is no surprise that the majority of the team has been working on the show from the start.

Trench’s script is inspiring and his delivery is a masterclass in storytelling. The play felt like poetry, with lines that take your breath away followed quickly by brilliantly timed jokes. His physicality and the way he revelled in the world he was creating meant that I was never disconnected, and not once doubted anything he was doing. This is no easy feat normally, let alone when you are the only person on stage portraying two characters or when the sound desk is in between the audience and the stage.

Yet, the visible sound desk was hardly detrimental. Getting to experience a play about a man who’s life is surrounded by music while a composer (Odinn Orn Hilmarsson) mixes sound and music live in front of you takes the complexity of the play to another level. Also, I imagine it is what will keep the play fresh, as Hilmarsson alternates with David Knight (the other composer), meaning the music will be different for every performance.

At one point I thought that the lights were also being operated from the sound desk, as they were perfectly in sync with the music and Trench. A combination of Marine Le Houëzec’s lighting and Anna Driftmeir’s set created a solid foundation for the most beautiful moments in the play, and I think without the charm they brought to the show, it would not have been such a roaring success.

While I imagine the show has a very long, exciting and successful future ahead of it, do not risk missing out. If you only see one thing this year, make it Radioman.

Reviewed by Kara Alberts
Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic