AS readers of a certain age will have worked out, Edinburgh People’s Theatre take a trip back in time to an era of secret agents and daring do at the Church Hill Theatre this week, when they present Dick Barton Special Agent.
The nefarious arch-villain, Baron Scarheart, plans to take control of Britain by lacing the nation’s tea supplies with Slunk, the most potent cannabis known to man, thereby rendering the populace pliant to his will.
The only person who can stop him is Dick Barton, special agent and tea time radio star, ably assisted by his working class sidekicks, Jock and Snowy. But when Barton goes missing (captured and imprisoned in Berlin by the lusty femme fatale, Marta Heartburn), the fate of Ol’ Blighty hangs on a thread.
Will Dick escape? Can Jock and Snowy save the day? Will Marta have her wicked way? What’s with the tap dancing? Who’s got the teddy bear? These questions, and more, will possibly be answered at some time during this fun show.
Director, Iain Fraser, has fond memories of Dick Barton growing up. “The script reads incredibly well and brings back long lost memories of finishing my tea quickly in order to sit and listen to the show on the radio (wireless!). It was a tradition with my parents and my aunts to listen to every episode if possible. To be able to recreate something I held in such esteem is really wonderful.”
With a cast of all ages, Dick Barton is fresh to some of the younger cast.
Arch-villain Marta Heartburn, played by 29-year-old Mairi Beaver, says: “The play is timeless. Jokes that were relevant when the series was initially a hit still hold their weight today. The endless fits of giggles during rehearsal time are testimony to this. The musical numbers ranging from a spoof of Nessun Dorma to the beautiful duet of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square means that not only is it laugh-a-minute, the show also delivers a lovely, if not daft, message.”
Dick Barton Special Agent, Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road, Tomorrow-Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2.30pm), £10, 0333 666 3366