Under the Radar - Review
“Under The Radar” examines the relationship between a reporter looking for a big story, Lee Stilling, and an inventor she is interviewing, Martin Christensen, as he embarks on the maiden voyage of his homemade submarine. She agrees to go with him on this voyage and uses the time to interview him to delve into his motivations, but as the drink flows she ends up opening up more.
The script struggles from the start. It has a classic Rom-Com opening – she doesn’t realise the misogynistic guy sat where she’s meeting Martin is in fact Martin. He doesn’t realise she’s the reporter he’s meeting because she’s a woman.
As they settle into a conversation during the first act the mood changes but the conversation isn’t engaging and it takes a while to see the characters open up to a point where you can be interested in their stories. The script feels like it’s trying too hard to be clever but is full of a lot of clichés.
When we move to the second act the script flips between serious drama and really silly comedy, but the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to this juxtaposition and the comedy failed to land. The two acts could have been from different plays due to the disjointed nature of the storytelling and uneven character development. I left not knowing what the story wanted to be about.
One further problem was several needlessly long set changes which broke up the narrative and made it difficult to immerse yourself in the story.
I should also note that the story is almost identical to that of a real-life journalist from Denmark and this wasn’t acknowledged anywhere.
However, the performances still manage to really stand out and the actors shine. They bring to life a difficult script and a monologue by Lee in the second act is particularly impressive. Eleanor Hill as Lee and Nicholas Anscombe as Martin gave their characters depth and believability. While the script doesn’t have a lot of originality the actors are able to imbue it with life.
As a show it needs more work to decide exactly what it wants to be and what it wants to say. But it is worth seeing for the excellent performances of the actors.
It’s currently running at The Old Lion Theatre until April 2nd 2022 https://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/shows.html
Rating: 2 Star