Radio 69 – Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Space at Symposium Hall

Reviewer - Tom Ralphs

Devised by: The Counterminers

A shambolic radio station in the Scottish Borders faces closure and may be missed by no one other than the DJs, news reporters, weather lady and cleaner that work there. The owner certainly doesn’t seem as if he’ll mourn its passing, being more interested in his brewing business. Only two things can save them, one is local anti-hero Filthy Phil, now returning to Scotland after being thrown out of the last place he lived, and the other is Nicola Sturgeon, who may or may not be making a guest appearance.

The premise tells you most of what you need to know about Radio 69 to decide whether you’ll like it or it will leave you cold. It is a farce played loud, with every trope exaggerated and every plot point a vehicle for several gags. There’s some attempt at creating characters you can empathise with, as weather lady Pippa contemplates telling her wife that she is leaving for a job in New Zealand, but these are only incidental and never delay the arrival of the next absurd moment.

The best moments are the parodies of local radio and radio adverts, delivered with pinpoint accuracy and humour. Jamie Cushing, as the cleaner and would be Nicola Sturgeon, also delivers two great comic moments, and Tom Creswell as Phil milks his cameo role to great effect.

The whole thing is delivered with energy and enthusiasm by a large ensemble cast that more than compensates for all the rough edges of the production. There are a few other shows at the Fringe that seem to be going for the same route-one story of hotel/pub/radio station faced with closure/disaster and comic attempts to save it, but this is the most fully realised. The proverbial kitchen sink is thrown in and the pace doesn’t slow at any point.

It will be loved and loathed in equal measure, which is a sign that it does exactly what it sets out to do.

Runs from 16 to 21 August 2021 | Image: Contributed

The Reviews Hub Score

Knockabout farce delivers the laughs

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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