Tanya O'Debra. Photo by Jason Thompson.
BOTTOM LINE: A modern spoof of 1940's film noir (ehem, radio noir).
Radio Star is an entertaining 45 minutes. Will it change your life? Probably not. But it will sufficiently induce giggling and keep your spirits perked through its duration. From a successful run in last summer's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Radio Star now plays at The Red Room through January 26th.
Enter Tanya O'Debra, decked out in professional yet flattering 1940's attire. She takes her seat in front of the microphone, organizes her script, and sips some water. Behind her sits a man in a bowtie, at a table with several sound-making devices. Together, for radio audience all over the (insert some place or region here) they tell the story of Detective Nick McKittrick and "The Case of the Long-Distance Lover."
That's the extent of the back story, as Radio Star is really about the story being told by O'Debra to her radio listeners. The audience observes a radio play, in all its glory, In reverence to the days before widgets, apps and YouTube. And you'd be amazed at how one talented actress telling said story can really bring it to life, without the bells and whistles we've grown accustomed to experiencing with our entertainment.
The story at hand is a saucy one, involving a detective and some crafty police work to solve a crime. It's quirky and modern, although thematically nostalgic of the 1940's. Full of sexual innuendos and puns, O'Debra plays ten different characters throughout the tale involving a murder and some confusion over a Snuggie and a Slanket. Stylistically dated but thematically modern, the story is well-crafted spoof of itself. With references to Facebook, for example, it's apparent this '40's flashback is more theoretical than anything else.
Radio Star isn't the most exciting thing playing below 14th Street, but O'Debra is charming, the story is funny and it's not a bad way to spend an hour of your evening. Have a drink downstairs at KGB Bar first and I imagine it's even better.
(Radio Star plays at The Red Room, 85 East 4th Street between 2nd and Bowery, through February 20th. Performances are Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm. Tickets are $15 and are available at smarttix.com. For more show info visit horsetrade.info.)