Radio dramas had an all too brief heyday in the first half of the last century. Developed in the 1920s, the radio play had becme the number one entertainment format in North America by the 1940s before starting a long, slow slide with the rise of television in the 1950s. Today, radio plays are perhaps best remembered for their quirks: the low-production-value charm; the hilarious sponsor-messages; the mid-Atlantic accents. Back then, however, they were a huge part of the culture, both over the airwaves and live in-performance. Audiences would flock to recording studios to watch the actors behind their favourite characters and to see the foley artists who created the sound effects for the shows.

A little less than a month ago, I got a chance to see This is Twisted Theatre’s latest experiment. Rather than the usual sketch comedy or improv that they hold monthly at the Victoria Events Centre, Rod Peter Jr. and Theo Sherman – the minds behind TiTT – revived and recorded an original 1940s Batman radio play. They assembled a cast of some of Victoria’s most popular actors to remount the script and they brought it to life exactly as one would have experienced it in the 1940s. I can confidently say the entertainment value has not been lost over the years. This is just pure, nerdy, vintage fun.

I grew up with old radio plays on CD and downloaded from internet archives. Cheesy radio plays were my first introduction to Superman, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, The Shadow, and many other pop culture staples. However, the enthusiastic response from last month’s audience reveals that you do not need to have grown up with the medium to enjoy the show. This is a nostalgia trip that never takes itself too seriously. The atmosphere is light-hearted. Beer and popcorn are served before the show and at intermission and anybody who buys from the concession is put into a draw to win the Batman-themed prizes that are periodically given out – in true radio fashion – over the course of the evening.

The actors are also clearly having a great deal of fun with the out-dated and often over-dramatic script. Adopting their best radio voices, the actors stand around a semicircle of microphones (everything is being recorded, after all) and perform the absurd dialogue with tongues firmly planted in cheeks. The actors were well chosen for their voices. Rod Peter Jr. is excellent, adopting a rather macho voice for the script’s fatherly but slightly slow Superman. Roderick Glanville brought to life an old-timey Batman with a fantastic and liberal use of the dramatic pause. Missie Peters played the boy wonder, Robin, with exactly the right touch of naïve eagerness. The star of the show, however, was getting to watch Theo Sherman as the foley artist creating each of the sound effects in the script – often with the most ingenious and unexpected supplies.

Overall, this is a remarkably fun and light evening out. If you are looking for drama, intellectual rigour, or physical comedy, this will not be your play. If you are looking for something slightly campy, slightly geeky, slightly vintage, and very entertaining, then this is the show for you. Last month’s show was only the first of two parts, ending on a cliffhanger. After the success of last month, This is Twisted Theatre has decided to run the second part of the play for two nights this week, June 13 and 14. Those that saw the play last month can look forward to fresh takes on the characters. Kelly Hudson will be playing Robin this time around and Chris Ross – of One Man Star Wars fame – will be adopting the mask of the Batman. If you did not catch last month’s show, you can quickly familiarize yourself with the plot at This is Twisted Theatre’s Facebook event page. Either way, you will not want to miss this.