Cue the Devil’s Gallop! Dick Barton-Special Agent is back, this time courtesy of Newport Playgoers musical-comedy presentation at The Dolman Theatre.
Barton aficionados will notice quite a change in the Phil Wilmot scripted show, as the legendary post-war radio detective breaks his own personal code-of-conduct several times as he is subjected to double entendres, drugs and even acquiring a femme fatale girlfriend.
The production however is a lot of fun from start to finish and a farcical/musical hall salute to the Britishness of radio drama in the 1940s/50s with a touch of Carry On thrown in for good measure.
|Newport Playgoers presentation|
of Dick Barton - Special Agent
Photograph: Phil Mansell
Kevin Myers displays versatility as the hero, the suave Dick Barton and the slightly dim-witted sidekick Snowy White. Myers convincingly portrays two characters who at times become one while still maintaining a heroic demeanour. His highlight is saving the day with a tap-dance routine which gained a huge applause from the audience.
John Sheen adds fun as the strong arm working class assistant with a Scottish accent Jock Anderson, a comical highlight been his musical pairing on A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square with the frightfully wonderful Nicola Carlyle as Daphne Fritters.
The real show stealers though are the villains of the piece. Stephen Saunders delivers a convincingly caricatured portrayal of Baron Scarheart a criminal hell-bent on world domination, while the psychotic, seductive and sultry Marta Heartburn is played to perfection by Rosamund Jones-Griffiths, a natural comedienne who can deliver a perfect double entendre with a mere glint in her eye.
Dick Barton-Special Agent continues at The Dolman Theatre until Saturday January 18.
- This review by Andy Howells was published in The South Wales Argus during January 2014.