Talk Radio | The New Theatre
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Review by: Brendan O'Rourke
Venue: The New Theatre
Written By: Eric Bogosian
Directed By: Ken Miller
Cast: Neill Fleming, Liam Burke, diane Jennings, Deborah Wiseman, Rory Mullen, Adam Henshaw, Ross Hamilton, Sharon Coade, Maggie Donovan.
Talk Radio takes place in the studio of Cleveland's WTLK Radio with talk show host Barry Champlain (Neill Fleming) in the driving seat. During this one eventful night, Barry fights against the will of his producer Dan Woodruff (Deborah Wiseman) after finding out that his top rating show is being considered for national syndication. He does this in the only way he knows how - by being outrageous.
As the calls come in Barry uses his quick wit and informed arguments to pick them off one by one. All the calls (bar one) are performed live from the wings by the supporting cast (Rory Mullen, Adam Henshaw, Ross Hamilton, Sharon Coade and Maggie Donovan). Barry battles with these unseen characters and their colorful personalities, which include a cat lover, a transvestite, a woman with an irrational fear of her garbage disposal and a white supremacist. These exchanges make up the bulk of the show and are thoroughly entertaining thanks to Neill Fleming's impressive performance as the hard-headed, chain-smoking host coupled with the variety provided by his boisterous jousting partners. Battling with these pathetic souls, we see a transformation in Barry, which is just as enthralling as the ludicrous conversations he finds himself involved in.
Barry is not alone on stage - his producer Dan appears in intervals to scrutinize his performance when so much hangs in balance for her, whilst the presence of his two colleagues: sometimes girlfriend Linda MacArthur (Diane Jennings) and ex-DJ Stu Noonan (Liam Burke) drive home Champlain's self-isolation. As the talk show progresses, Barry is given brief respite in the form of ad breaks and it is during these intervals that we gain an insight into Barry's past. His colleagues take centre stage as they talk about their relationships with the opinionated talk show host - giving the audience a look at the man behind the mic.
A well realized set, subtle lighting and authentic radio vocals/phone calls pumping through the PA add to the whole experience, helping the audience feel as though they are a fly on the wall in a radio studio.
Talk Radio is entertaining, funny and at times quite touching. However in terms of plot Eric Bogosian's story is relatively light serving more as a medium through which we can observe this troubled individual as he comes to terms with his own futile plight.
Talk Radio runs nightly at 7.30pm in The New Theatre until 16th February. Tickets: €12 - 15.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 12th February 2013 | Theatre