"energetic, witty alternative retro comedy"
by Peter Carrington for remotegoat on 25/10/13

If you like irreverent music hall comedy mixed with radio detectives tales told using witty wordplay and a dash of satire The Misfits of London is for you. Squeezed into 45 minutes is the hilarious tale of an alternative post-war radio drama and those who make it.

Anthony Carruthers, played by a sharp-suited and moustached Nicholas Cowell is the writer of a radio comedy-drama which is hoping to get a new series at the BBC. With their leading lady injured, the hopeful Phllis Ingleby (Sophia Sivan) steps in and the cast and crew give a performance of the detective story to the executives. What follows is intelligent, witty and hilarious.

The audience are treated to a feast of voice acting. The comedy duo of Arthur (Robert Blackwood) and Fred (Gareth Davies) trade banter with speed and agility, as well as doing justice to a Cole Porter Classic 'You're the top'. Sophia Sivan as Phyllis is a wonder as the sweet English rose who changes voices and demeanour with ease during the radio drama. The supporting cast are just as impressive; Laura Rugg rushes about as the perfectionist producer Beryl. But it is Georges who stands out, played with a touch of melancholy by Ben Cutler. The mute foley artist makes the audience smile with his presence (even when they don't fully notice him doing the sound effects of the radio play). It is credit to Lucy Appleby's direction that all the characters gel so well, they all come across as so lovable and the energy of the production crackles and pops.

Blackwood and the sketch group from whom this production was born are clearly fans of 1940s Britain; the script is laced not only with historical references, riffs in the humour and attitudes of the time but also satire of the modern day. Blackwood also plays themes against type, juxtaposing modern alternative comedy against post-war humour, stereotypes and history for comic effect. For the most part this is excellent but while the satire is very welcome and fits it is a little on the nose.

But any rough edges are smoothed over seamlessly by the energy of the cast and the quick witted wordplay. It is these elements that make this show a joy to watch. It is a delightfully clever idea to stage a radio play in a lunchtime theatre because the audience gets the whole detective story, plus the drama of the meta-plot of the radio cast and a musical number. You won't regret spending your lunchtime with The Misfits of London.

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