Radio Times

Previewed 9 October 1992, Opened 15 October 1992, Closed 16 January 1993 at the Queen's Theatre (now Sondheim Theatre)

The new musical comedy Radio Times in London starring Tony Slattery and featuring songs by Noel Gay

The West End, 1941... the lights are out all over London but it's business as usual deep underground. In the shelter of their studio the colourful cast and crew of the BBC's favourite variety show are cooking up one more ration of gaiety and fun.

Hollywood heart throb Gary Strong has arrived. Alan Patterson, the radio ventriloquist has not. A new censor has been appointed to purge the show of smut, double-entendres and jokes about the Royal Family and Monty Montgomery's magical Melody Makers have turned on the music. But, tonight there's more than just a ripple of romance in the airwaves.

Musical with songs by Noel Gay, book by Abi Grant, production devised by Alex Armitage, with book devised by Robin Miller, and additional lyrics by Chris Walker.

Featuring the songs You've Done Something To My Heart; Run, Rabbit, Run; There's Something About A Soldier; I Took My Harp To The Party; and Hey Little Hen.

The cast features Tony Slattery as 'Sammy Shaw', Kathryn Evans as 'Olive James', Ian Bartholomew as 'Wilfred Davies', Harriet Benson as 'Amy Chapman', James Buller as 'Jeeps', Peter Rutherford as 'Heathcliffe Bultitude', and Jeff Shankley as 'Gary Strong', with Helen Anker, Linda Mae Brewer, Martin Eyre, Kathy Norcross, Tamzin Outhwaite, Ben Richards, Beth Robson, and Philip Snowden.

Directed by David Gilmore, with choreography and musical staging by Anthony Van Laast, designs by Terry Parsons, lighting by Paul Pyant, and sound by Rick Clarke.

Noel Gay's other West End credits include Me and My Girl at the Adelphi Theatre. David Gilmore's London theatre credits include Denise Deegan's comedy Daisy Pulls it Off at the Globe Theatre in 1983.

"Ever since Five Guys Named Moe metastasised and sent compendium show after compendium show into the theatrical bloodstream, infecting the West End with a sort of cabaret cancer, the same complaint has been heard again and again. Why can't we have a plot strong enough to link all those songs? Well, someone has punished us by granting our desires. How much better if the creators of Radio Times had given us a score or so of Noel Gay's numbers, instead of concocting what is clearly beyond their wits, namely a good story... Those who nostalgically recall Workers' Playtime may be amused by the sound effects and the banter... But terrible jokes are no less terrible for being meant to be terrible, and many of them occur off-mike, in the 'real' world... Still, much of the audience seemed to find David Gilmore's production innocent fun, which I suppose it is." The Times

"A London plagued by bombs; national hatred of the Germans; BBC deference towards government. Watching the Blitz-based new musical, Radio Times, one realises with a shock how little has changed in the last 50 years. The one thing that sadly dates this amiable, ramshackle show is a BBC producer's fear that he may be sent to work down the mines. Actually 'new' is not quite the word for Radio Times. It consists of two dozen old Noel Gay songs loosely strung round a story involving the live transmission of a radio show, Variety Bandwagon, in 1941... The only bonus of the book is that it induces a fuzzy nostalgia in war babies like myself for the old days of ITMA and Variety Bandbox. It also gives Tony Slattery the chance to strut his stuff. With his pachydermous bulk, his mooncalf features and his sharp comic timing, he is an engaging figure... David Gilmore's production has a seamless fluency, old songs like Run, Rabbit, Run touch the memory chords of a certain generation and the long-legged, slim-waisted chorus line - and that's just the boys - is very fetching." The Guardian

Radio Times in London at the Queen's Theatre previewed from 9 October 1992, opened on 15 October 1992 and closed on 16 January 1993