By John Pratt
There was a time, before everyone had a television, and indeed for a time afterwards, where radio ruled the entertainment business. Radio dramas were the mass entertainment of the day, and the shows ranged from comedies like The Goon Show, to dramas like The Archers.
Alfred Hitchcock used to say that the secret to a horror movie was that audiences needed to suspend their disbelief. For the audiences of the day, radio dramas were as real as they dared to believe. H. G. Welles’ book “War of The Worlds” was famously first turned into a radio drama in 1938. The New York Times reported the following day that “thousands” found the broadcast compelling enough that panicked listeners “swamped” the police with phone calls, and many began to evacuate their homes in New Jersey!
“Jungle Jane Does it Again” takes you back to the golden age of radio, without pictures, when viewers could only imagine the scenes behind the microphone, as they waited while the radio receivers warmed up, and huddled around to listen to the latest installment.
Written by Napier personality John Cocking (better known to festival goers as “Bertie”), “Jungle Jane Does it Again” was originally performed at Napier’s Art Deco festival to rave reviews, before Director Jan Autumn and fellow Coromandel Player Liz Cameron brought it back for the Coromandel Players to perform. It was originally performed at Hauraki House’s Little Theatre before COVID brought production to a halt; the current production features a more extensive set, sounds and lighting to captivate the studio audience.
The show features a period-appropriate set and costumes and brings the world behind the radio microphone to the audience, with everything that it took to create the many shows much loved by millions of people. It’s a fascinating look at a time gone by, where the drama behind the drama was just as real as anything broadcast on the radio.
“Jungle Jane Does it Again” by the Coromandel Players, will be performing at the Hauraki House Little Theatre on Friday night, 30 September and Saturday night, 1 October, commencing at 7.30pm. A matinee performance is set for Sunday afternoon, 2 October at 2.00pm.
Tickets are $20 and available at Isite Coromandel or at the door.