Neither of us had wine with dinner. Mild surprise registered on the face of the waitress, given that it was Valentine’s Day. After she disappeared, we looked at each other. “She probably thinks we’re having a…”
“Completely non-romantic evening. Which is exactly right, of course!”
The waitress returned with our pot of tea and no more was said upon the matter. Instead talk turned to the Fitzrovia Radio Hour, which we were shortly to attend. Would it in fact be an hour? “When it is over, we will look at our watches and say, ‘That is how long it was.'” We nodded sagely.
We, being devotees of a certain sort of gilded-era, what-ho-ish, all-chaps-together humor, had booked tickets for the aforementioned entertainment. We weren’t sure what it would be like, but we thought it would be a cracker.
And we were not disappointed–indeed, it was sublime in every respect. Cut-glass accents and comic stylings abounded. There were even some little firemans. (Oh, are you not acquainted with the little firemans? Allow me to introduce you to them here and here.)
Before the show began I embarrassed myself on our way into the auditorium by trying to hand our tickets to a man in a cravat loitering by the door who was not in fact the usher. Fortunately he took this in good humor. “It’s a natural mistake to make,” quoth he. I am not sure this is true.
In addition to the little firemans, the show featured some murders, some tin miners, and a great big sea creature. There were stories about underhanded Americans and about gory clocks. There was something called a “Cornish miner hubbub.” Throughout all there came into use a variety of hilarious sound effect props. Hilarious sound effect props are vastly underutilized nowadays, I feel.
But the best thing of all was the interplay between the cast. A slowly mounting rivalry between these two. A flirtation over here. A bit of bullying. Some sly drinking. All seamlessly overlaid on top of the intricate timing of creating the sound effects for various tales. It was difficult to know where to look, for while I wanted to pay attention to whoever was speaking, it was equally possible at any moment that a hilarious encounter was taking place in silence or in the midst of sound effect prop deployment elsewhere on stage. Picture my friend and myself as small children in a big candy store with eyes not wide enough to contain all possible delights therein.
We laughed and we laughed and we laughed, and we both agreed that it surpassed all our expectations. Do pay them a call if you get a chance, whether you are on a completely non-romantic evening or otherwise. Will suit all hilarious sound effect needs.