With so many jukebox musicals being put on, it is quite refreshing to hear some old wartime songs in this Noel Gay musical, Radio Times.
The story basically follows a London wartime radio show, Variety Bandwagon, as the cast prepares a special broadcast to America. Gary Wilmot plays a charming Sammy Shaw, the star of the show who cheekily makes puns both on and off-stage, some of which are older than the pyramids.
The cast pulls out all the stops when performing a number of familiar wartime songs, including “Run Rabbit Run”, “Hey Little Hen”, and “There’s something about a solider”. The singing however is inaudible at times when the on-stage band is in full swing. Plaudits though must go to Christian Edwards as Jeeps, who provides the farm yard sound effects for the broadcast, even at the most inappropriate of moments.
The problem with this musical however, is that a number of the characters and their stories feel a bit underwritten. The relationship between Olive Carter, played by Sara Crowe’s understudy Vivien Carter, and Hollywood star Gary Strong, played by Michael Hobbs, is not given enough time to develop. Elsewhere, the rivalry between Sammy and the scrupulous producer Heathcliffe Bultitude, played by John Conroy, does not go anywhere, although Conroy does do some great impersonations when he is brought into the show.
Despite this it is quite enjoyable to watch this cast with a “Keep calm and carry on” attitude strive to put on the show with aplomb.