Talk Radio SKINNYFest 1

Article by Kate Nevens | 14 Aug 2006
Nestled snugly in the steamy intestinal tract of the festival's newly inflated purple bovine, talk show host Barry Champlain (Phil Nichols) has a sweaty, overheated audience to contend with. Abrasive and bitter, and impressively rude to his callers - cutting them off at every inopportune moment – Barry is on the cusp of taking his show, and his moronic listeners, national.

Skipping happily in the shadow of 12 Angry Men and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Talk Radio is another cast of comedians playing it straight, this time under the direction of fellow comic Stewart Lee. The cast are amusing and believable, and Nichols is particularly well-suited to playing the misanthropic host, but the funny lines are thinly spread, taking a backseat to the struggle for a serious message, and the all-important non-PC comments never come close to crossing any kind of line.

Having Lee's name attached to this production is probably doing it no favours, as Talk Radio has neither the grandeur (or funding) of The Opera, nor the audacity of the former-Fist of Fun's stand up routines, so expectations will doubtless be too high for something that is simply a decent retelling of a good Oliver Stone movie.