In the spring of 2016, I spent a month at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London performing Radioman, a solo show.
Although the only actor, I was joined onstage by one of our two sound designer/composers every night, David Knight and Odinn Orn Hilmarsson, who remixed the soundtrack as they saw fit.
The set was by Anna Driftmier, the lighting by Marine Le Houëzec, the publicity and photography (above and below) by Mihaela Bodlovic, and the show was directed by Tom Crowley. Rosanna Mallinson was our stage manager and lighting op.
Radioman is a first person narrative which flows from past to present tense and back without regard for chronology. The story is written in the language of dusty art supplies, summer idyll, and turntables.
It is the story of a narrowboat and the man who lives inside. The show considers loneliness, music, the English countryside, and immortality.
It was conceived in 2011 in a truncated form as a short story. I developed the story into a one-man show through a slot in the cabaret bar at the St James' Theatre, and three nights with full audience at the King's Head Theatre.
The King's Head Theatre run was produced by Caitlin Benedict who took the below photographs. It was performed on the set of a production of Trainspotting which is why the walls are swearing.
The very first full length run was a rehearsed reading at The Hope Theatre in Islington. The show was inspired by walks I used to take along the canal in Warwickshire and a rusting narrowboat I passed. The photograph in the poster below was taken on that stretch of canal though I don't think the boat pictured is the exact one.
Music is an integral part of Radioman. The show was fully scored with a refrain that came in and out. For reference, Ró by Árstiðir playing as I wrote it. Composer David Knight has a number of the tracks available on his Soundcloud (below).
In the Old Red Lion run, we included the full text of the show within the programme. Page 1 after the creatives' biogs looked like this:
Felix Trench’s story always engages and has a ticklish premise at its heart. It neatly mixes the everyday and the surreal, the banal and the creepy to good effect. - The Guardian
Director Tom Crowley plays up the wistful quality, letting the mood and music swell and recede like a changing tide. It all feels a little like you’ve fallen asleep to a bedtime story and taken up the tale in a dream. - Exeunt
There’s an imaginative richness to Trench’s work, with its mix of towpath poetry and English whimsy, its nods to everything from Enid Blyton to Daniel Kitson – the central image of the ancient man in his waterway home, half-made of music and unmoored from time, is a bloody lovely one. - The Stage
It is both surreal and ethereal. - A Younger Theatre
If you only see one thing this year, make it Radioman. - West End Wilma
You’re left to see music’s power refracted in the mad gleam in Trench’s eyes, as his story gets deeper, darker and weirder. - TimeOut
To call this piece a solo work would deny the impact Trench’s collaborators, drawn together under director Tom Crowley’s eye, have upon this fabulist tale. - The Reviews Hub