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Tuesday, 19 January 2021

REVIEW: The 39 Steps - A Radio Drama for the Living Record Festival

The Living Record Festival is a celebration of ground-breaking grassroots digital art happening between the 17th of January and 22nd February 2021 with a range of audio stories available to listen in to at home. My second visit was for Blackbox Theatre’s radio play of The 39 Steps adapted by Chris Hawley from John Buchan’s book. This familiar story, wonderfully adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow which ran for nine years at the Criterion Theatre, suits the radio medium and is a very well-produced show with a fun tongue in cheek script and plenty of sound effects to bring the story to life.

The premise is that the cast are due to assemble at a radio station in 1962 when the snow prevents the cast arriving at the station and with five minutes to go Julian decides to put it on air using Brenda, the Tea Lady for all the female parts and the sound effects, “I was just doing tea and biscuits”, with Roy for all the male parts, “he’s good at voices”. The set up suggests a radio version of The Play that goes wrong, but they play it straight, just as ordinary folk doing silly accents and it works very well.
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