Dick Barton: Special Agent by Phil Willmott is enjoying a short season at Edinburgh’s Church Hill theatre, Morningside road. I caught it on Wednesday’s opening night.

Edinburgh People’s Theatre are enjoying their 71st year of productions and fielded a large cast for this production. Although the name, Dick Barton, evokes the great age of radio drama and nonsensical comedy, I’m not quite old enough to remember listening to it. There are plenty who are.

Graham Bell reproduced that evocative BBC broadcasting voice impeccably in his anchoring moments in front of the blacks. His necessarily quick changes from mandatory dinner suit to Colonel Gardener’s more relaxed style occasionally left him breathless, but it all adds to the fun for a loyal audience.

Doubling was the order of the night and the cast handled the complications of that well. Ronnie Millar’s pseudo cockney was better than his RP. The ladies of the cast ventured into some wonderfully daring costumes for their cabaret type scenes.

Some nice singing enlivened the spotlight moments, but I had reservations about one or two and felt the dancing could be sharper. Perhaps that’ll come as the run progresses. Mairi Beaver gave a great rendition of femme fatale (don’t know the German equivalent phrase, sorry) Marta Heartburn.

Great touches from director Iain Fraser and musical director, Anne Mackenzie.

Excellent props.

Run continues Friday at 7.30 and Saturday at 2.30. EPT are to be congratulated for offering a matinée.

Edinburgh People’s Theatre

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