The Gin Chronicles in New York is the latest saga in this well-established series that by now has something of a following. On this occasion detective duo John Jobling and Doris Golightly visit the Big Apple on holiday but are soon drawn away from sightseeing and find themselves investigating a mysterious case involving the manufacture of fake gin in Hell’s Kitchen.
A pastiche of the 1940s that reminds of just how bizarre and affected radio broadcasts of the period now sound
The format is a play within a play. The audience is in the studio watching the broadcast. The two gentlemen performers are dressed in dinner jackets and the ladies wear floral frocks. Each stands in front of a lectern and a large period microphone. At the side of the stage is the foley man with an assortment of devices for making an array of sound effects and add more humour for the theatre audience to enjoy. In the best tradition of studio recordings he also has flash cards telling us when to laugh, clap, boo and gasp, lest the text doesn’t elicit these responses when required. Although none of the radio listeners would have a clue about what was going on in the studio, we are able to witness hats being changed, cast moving around and quite a lot of nonsense with props from highly exaggerated characters. The radio programme is in two halves to make way for commercials that inevitably promote the gin and the tonic of the two sponsoring companies. At the end, credits are read out in authentic style.
The style is over-the-top and something like a radio version of the Carry On series. It's a pastiche of the 1940s that reminds of just how bizarre and affected radio broadcasts of the period now sound. Most of the audience responded without prompt and clearly found the performance entertaining and worthy of laughter. Others remained somewhat stonier faced as we wondered at the foolish eccentricity of it all.
The Misfits of London believe that in these rather gloomy times ‘people need escapism and a bit of silliness’. There is certainly plenty of the latter in this show and escape is possible through the door of St Mark’s.