Murder on the Wireless
by Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Kilmurry
Ensemble Theatre until July 13
Photos by Prudence Upton
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
In 1959, when the radio was referred to as “the wireless”, we used to stare at it while we listened to it. There was no talk-back and there were no shock jocks. The most popular programmes were talent quests and dramas where we had to use our imaginations to visualise the scenes.
Murder on the Wireless at the Ensemble Theatre consists of two, one-act plays titled The Dead(ly) Wives Club by Mark Kilmurry and The Solitary Cyclist which is based on a work by Arthur Conan Doyle. Both of the plays feature Georgie Parker, Daniel Mitchell and Mark Kilmurry in the lead roles and they manage to capture the atmosphere of London in that era.
The charming element that is no longer on radio is the Foley Artist, the person who executes the sound effects such as walking on various surfaces, doors closing and cycling noises. In the days before television, cricket commentators on radio would flick their fingernail on a matchbox to emulate bat hitting ball. As the Foley Artist, Katie Fitchett works entirely upstage yet manages to upstage the other performers. As she waits for the next sound cue, Fitchett sits nonchalantly with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and comes in with the effect at exactly the appropriate time.
The interest in this latest Ensemble production lies not so much in the works themselves but in the medium through which they’re delivered. Murder on the Wireless takes us on a journey to a more innocent era in which there were no personal computers and no obsession with mobile phones. I wonder how many people yearn for those times.