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  • Johnathan Thirlwell

Act Me Scarlet- A Blog Post

It’s that time of year again for the radio play! I’m looking so forward to the Scarlet Pimpernel.

What I like about the radio play is it’s just something a bit different. The retro feel and cabaret-style puts the audience at ease and creates a festive atmosphere. It’s fun.

Having the audience on your own level adds intimacy. The host and announcers play the role of getting everyone into the spirit of the performance. This involves improvisation which adds life to the radio play format.

It’s also a bit of a relief not having to memorise loads of lines! However we study the script so much that by the end of all the rehearsals, we usually know all the words anyway.

Last year we also acted as the Hollywood cast who presented the original radio play for the Philadelphia Story. My character was James Stewart performing Mike Connor.

When not playing our script characters, we were improvising as our Hollywood characters from the golden age of cinema.

The subtleties of voice and sound came to the forefront. You needed to work in tandem with the foley team to give a convincing audio performance. I enjoyed this layering and the new techniques we had to learn.

The Philadelphia Story required an American accent. This year’s accents will be très continental. I’m playing multiple roles being a servant, a commander and a solicitor! I’m enjoying learning about these characters and figuring out how my voice can bring them to life.

I love the nostalgic feel that the radio play brings. The retro adverts that break up the performance were so much fun. There is a lot in stall for the next one.

If you haven’t experienced a radio play, do come see the Scarlet Pimpernel. It’s great night out and a perfect start to the festive season.

Jonathan Thirlwell


The University of Kent Players will be writing weekly blog posts throughout the rehearsal and production period of The Scarlet Pimpernel. If you are interested in joining the University of Kent Players, finding out more about a specific role, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at

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