Radio plays on stage in Live From at the Criterion
Live From the Criterion is a grand idea for those wanting a bite of theatre without having to sit down to a whole meal.
But it's novelty isn't merely that it starts at 5pm and is over by 6 but also that it is a radio play and performed as such complete with a sound effects lady and the actors chipping in when an extra pair of hands is needed to ring a doorbell or something.
This particular Live From was Joe Orton's Ruffian On The Stairs and starred Lesley Sharp, Finbar Lynch and the lovely Johnny Flynn.
Mike and Joyce live in a bedsit and while Mike is out meeting a man in the loos at Kings Cross (you quickly get the impression his day job is of dubious legality) a young man calls looking for a room to rent. But there is more to him than initially meets the eye, he seems to know rather a lot about Mike and Joyce.
Ruffian on the Stairs is good fun, funny but with a dark edge to the comedy. Watching actors 'radio acting' is certainly a novelty, entertaining and interesting to watch and I'd definitely be tempted back to see another. In fact I'm surprised they are going to all this effort without actually recording the plays so that they can be listen to on the radio or online.
Live From is described as a series on the Criterion website so I'm assuming there will be more although there are no details as yet about what those future plays will be. It's worth keeping an eye out though because these one-off, tea-time performances will inevitably attract some interesting actors and possibly those, like Lynch, who are also doing evening performances elsewhere.