These days, most radio may be gaga but there's life in audio drama yet as Auricular handily proves. For Theatre503, Faith Collingwood and Jacqui Honess-Martin have mashed together theatre conventions and radio effects to bring us six tales crossing themes like a blind jaywalker from love and lust to horror and quantum physics. The intimate (read: tiny) venue puts us a few feet away from the four performers, a situation entirely appropriate for an evening where the running theme seems to be the connection between two people separated by time, technology or a brick wall.
Benjamin Askew's Love in the Time of Texting is the standout piece, a lyrical prose poem about four characters and the use of up to 160 characters to revive unrequited lust after seven years. It left us LOLling aplenty (though thankfully it never got as far as ROTFLMAO) watching Oliver J Hembrough and Kehinde Fadipe's wannabe lovers fumble their way to a meeting on Primrose Hill.
Christopher William Hill's Bond satire, I Was Blofeld's Interior Designer, lived up to the coolness of its title with many barbed insights as Ffion Jolly's researcher discovers how one would go about decorating a modern dragon's lair. The final piece, Mike Walker's Tick Tock is a metaphysical and metafictional mindfuck which plays with the timeless instinct to make sense of disconnected things via Schrodinger, Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, the impossibility of love and some of the sexiest non-contact dancing outside Soho.
We loved the creative use of simple performer-manned props throughout, especially Yvonne Gilbert's sound design. In Alice Birch's Clack Mill, a ghost story set in Ireland, a tube of marbles stood in for sea sounds while silhouettes on screens are used in Blofeld and Honess-Martin's Mary's Singer to mask age and identity respectively. The only downside is some of the poor accents, especially ex-Eastender Mohammed George's galling Galway effort. Other than that, this was a testament to the power of theatrical radio that maybe even Orson Welles would have appreciated.
Auricular continues at Theatre503 above The Latchmere pub until Saturday 20 November, with performances at 19:45 and a Saturday matinee performance at at 15:45. Tickets are £10 (£8 concessions). See here for more information.
For more six-part theatre, check out the "eye-opening and heart-breaking" Charged, currently at the Soho Theatre.
Cardenio at the Donmare Warehouse has some enjoyable "new" "Shakespeare".
For a broader view of what's going down artwise in London this week, see our handy roundup.