Sudsy set-up works

Rating: NNNNNRADIOLAND, season three of SIN CITY: THE LIVE IMPROVISED SOAP OPERA, directed by Ian Ferguson, w/ Kirsten Van Ritzen,.

Rating: NNNNN

RADIOLAND, season three of SIN CITY: THE LIVE IMPROVISED SOAP OPERA, directed by Ian Ferguson, w/ Kirsten Van Ritzen, Peter Oldring, Lisa Merchant, Albert Howell, Janet Van De Graaff, Paul Soles, Herbie Barnes, Melody A. Johnson, Raoul Bhaneja, Pat Kelly and Mary Pat Farrell. Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays). Opens Wednesday (October 25) and runs indefinitely every Wednesday at 9 pm. $10. 343-0033. Rating: NNN

Forget The West Wing. If you’re stuck for something to do on Wednesday nights, head over to the Tim Sims Playhouse for Radioland, the newest instalment of the cult hit improvised soap opera Sin City.

Set in the late 40s at a struggling T.O. radio station, as well as in a neighbouring boarding house, the weekly show sends up all the era’s cliches with lots of shoulder-padded chutzpah and style.

Working with scenes set up by director/narrator Ian Ferguson, the show’s performers improvise to move the plot forward, sometimes in hilariously unlikely directions.

Sexual mores

There are gentle pokes at the sexual mores of the time, from the taboo of divorce to a bit of gay innuendo. The actors also play off the limitations of the minimal set, pretending to enter the wrong room in the boarding house to interact with other characters.

I’m looking forward to following Janet Van De Graaff’s world-weary French expat Solange LaFrochette, who can’t love “because of la guerre,” Lisa Merchant’s note-perfect country bumpkin Lucy Parnell and Peter Oldring’s snivelling, repellent classical music broadcaster Elliot Spoole.

All three — along with Kirsten Van Ritzen, who milks every swagger from her Barbara Stanwyck-like divorcee — are experienced improvisers, and their timing is jaw-droppingly precise. Less comfortable, at least now, are Raoul Bhaneja and Albert Howell as duelling aristocrats and Melody A. Johnson as some sort of secretary. She’s done this character a million times.

Starting with its official opening Wednesday (October 25), the show should evolve into a survival of the funniest.

Can’t wait to see what happens.

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