Are you old enough to have enjoyed radio drama? Have you ever listened to Firesign Theatre? Do you enjoy “Guy Noir” segments on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion?
If you answered any of those questions in the affirmative, or if you are simply scratching your head in wonder, consider spending an evening at Holly Springs Cultural Center to catch Holly Springs Readers Theater Troupe’s The Further Adventures of Nick Danger… Bleeps, Bloopers, and Other Disasters, and be prepared to laugh.
After a brief introduction by Holly Springs Readers Theater Troupe founder Keith Macksey, the troupe moves on to share some memorable moments from the Golden Age of Radio. Specifically, they demonstrate some hilarious bloopers. From there, they proceed to perform the script of Firesign Theatre’s The Further Adventures of Nick Danger. (Firesign Theatre was a 1960s comedy troupe. Among their pet projects, they performed spoofs of old-time radio drama. Nick Danger is one such spoof.)
During the introduction and the bloopers, we are a “theater audience,” attending the performance of a tribute to radio theater (a.k.a. “Theatre of the Mind”), followed by a showcase of (in)famous lines (mis)spoken on the air back-in-the-day.
Thereafter, we are a “studio audience” attending the production of a radio comedy/drama. We witness the readers as they approach and speak into the microphones. We also witness the foley artists (sound technicians), as they create the accompanying sound effects (sometimes with yet another measure of hilarity).
First, Keith Macksey’s introduction engages the audience, making us feel comfortably at home as he speaks to us almost as though we are visiting him in his living room. And there is a warm up session that we are encouraged to join. Join in — it’s fun.
Second, the entire troupe contributes to the performance of bloopers. Pay attention — there are some gems — and, finally, he troupe moves on to perform Nick Danger.
Pat Berry plays Nick Danger, a “hard-boiled” film noir style detective. He uses various “aids” to modulate his voice to fit different circumstances. Berry’s Danger keeps us on our toes, because the script calls for him to perform the character at times and to make witty comments on the genre at others.
Anthony Spivey plays two roles — villain Rocky Rococo and a police lieutenant who has a history of being at odds with Nick Danger. The two have distinctive voices, postures, and personalities. Spivey switches back and forth between a fedora for the police lieutenant and a fez for Rococo, so there is never any doubt about which character he is portraying.
Carla Reck plays the femme fatale — she has several names (one of which provokes ominous music from the organ every time it is spoken), but “everyone knew her as Nancy.” Reck’s hairdo and her costume, along with the character’s distinctive body language, contribute nicely to her over-the-top portrayal of this character.
Paul Yosim plays a butler (among other characters). The accents that he uses are quite amusing.
Sonia Usatch-Kuhn and Mia Peters play the parts of “the foley artists,” providing sound effects and additional entertainment as they “foible” their way through a few of the effects.
In addition to their technical work, Usatch-Kuhn and Peters, along with Keith Macksey, make occasional appearances in the vocal production.
From The Department of Picky-Picky: One of the props in the sound-effects department is an electronic keyboard. We assumed that it was there only for show, because the operator’s fingers never actually touched the keys. Therein lies our “nit” to “pick.” If it is not actually operational, we felt that it would have been more “realistic” if fingers actually pressed keys on the device.
The show runs this weekend and next. Playing time is a bit more than an hour, without intermission.
Keep in mind that the storyline of Nick Danger is a spoof as well as a tribute. Be prepared for moments of silliness.
The Holly Springs Readers Theater Troupe presents THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF NICK DANGER… BLEEPS, BLOOPERS, AND OTHER DISASTERS at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9, 10, 16, and 17 at the Holly Springs Cultural Center, 300 W. Ballentine St., Holly Springs, North Carolina 27540.
TICKETS: $10 ($7 students and seniors).
BOX OFFICE: 919-567-4000 or http://www.etix.com/ticket/v/3443/holly-springs-cultural-center.
SHOW: https://www.facebook.com/events/1112005812228334/ and http://www.hollyspringsnc.us/calendar.aspx?CID=24.
VENUE: http://www.hollyspringsnc.us/323/Cultural-Center, https://www.facebook.com/hsculturalcenter/, and https://twitter.com/hollyspringscc.
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.