Halfway through our evening, an archly-hip guest informs the host of the titular radio programme that “podcasts are the future”.
“I don’t believe in the future” he replies.
And so it is we find ourselves watching a radio play on-stage in 2015 as part of an accelerating new media revival. With red curtain backdrop and heavily-thumbed scripts in hand, the audience was transported not just in time back to the heady heyday of the old-timey radio play, but also in place to the delightfully off-kilter desert community of Night Vale.
a sinister, mundane, hilarious – and often all three at once – show
Playing a touch broader than the incredibly successful podcast, the rabid audience were brought into the action as de-facto citizens of Night Vale, herded into the town sports centre to find a murderer lurking amongst them.
Led by the impossibly dulcet tones of series star Cecil Baldwin, the show is staged as a community radio broadcast from a town characterised by sinister helicopters, secret police, invisible residents, lurking hooded figures, and a palpable sense of unease.
Playing like a feature-film version of the fan-favourite show, the whirlwind visit to the offbeat world of Night Vale ended on a rousing and surprisingly touching speech from Baldwin, rounding off a sinister, mundane, hilarious – and often all three at once – show.
Leigh Venus at Tyne Theatre and Opera House, 21 September 2015
Originally published in Narc Magazine