What if a magic knob and an old antique wardrobe held the power to transport you to a different dimension… what a thrill that would be! Rose-Cedar Pine and her twin sister Mary experience just that in The Farce Dimension, an Open Theatre production brought to life by Leeds Student Radio in a unique three-part production. This creative story with combustible underwear, an army of combat nuns and a gorilla on a mission is an endlessly entertaining and inventive radio play complete with unexpected twists and a great sense of humour.
Rose and Mary created the blue, glowing portal to the nonsensical land known as the Farce Dimension with a “deluxe antique wardrobe and specifically placed flashing knobs.” At the beginning of Part One, Rose introduces the show through the use of video logs. The narrative of the show falls under a mix of first-person and third-person perspectives, which bring a blend of personal communication and action to the show.
The Farce Dimension earns listeners’ interest through its constant use of unique character voices, music and sound effects. Meanwhile, the absurdity and fun of the show are going to bring a smile to your face through the well-timed use of sexual innuendos and jokes throughout the play. The character voices are consistently pronounced and witty, which did wonders to keep me more engaged in the performance.
The show puts an enthusiastic twist on the characters by maintaining a combination of loud volume and bright voices, sustaining a sensational energy all throughout the performance. For me, the way the voice actors injected such energy and zip into their lines throughout the show is something that kept me listening!
One issue I found with listening through the radio station is dead air. As I was listening to the first part of the production, dead air was a major issue that prevailed throughout the performance which ultimately did ruin my experience. Happily, however, Leeds Student Radio uploading the show to their SoundCloud account eliminates that dead air experience and maintains the flow of the performance.
The Farce Dimension keeps the intentional silence of the show to a minimum with their music use. During scene changes, there was a jingle playing to keep the listeners engaged with the purely acoustic show. A show relying purely on music without visual markers does bring more challenges, both to production and to keep the audience entertained, but Open Theatre manage to bring the show to life nonetheless.
Not being able to see the performance does leave lots of room for imagination for the listener but, that was almost the best part for me. It was that ability to picture whatever, whoever, and wherever that made me feel involved in the story-making process. Such a deliberately wacky story, with memorable characters and situations, meant that this visualisation process wasn’t just necessary, buy a joy to undertake.
Fast-paced action occurs throughout the show, featuring deceit, mistaken identity and physical comedy to name but a few things. These themes sprinkled throughout the production bring The Farce Dimension to another level. Entertaining and exciting, it engaged me with the relentlessly wild and chaotic situations, one after the other. From transfiguration, mind control, and gorillas on the loose, there is never a boring scene with The Farce Dimension.
Words by Tori Scott.
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Image: Leeds Student Radio // Open Theatre