Season 3 of Wooden Overcoats launched this week. Theatre editor (and podcast novice) Daniel Perks pops along to a live performance: 

It’s an age-old tale – you run a funeral home with your sibling on a small island, and then another funeral director opens up a parlour across the road. Classic, right? Well, perhaps not, but it sure makes for some fun anecdotes and embarrassing situations. Led by David K. Barnes, whose play Timothy will run at the VAULT Festival 2018 in March underneath production company Joyous Gard, Wooden Overcoats is a podcast that celebrates the next generation of comedic writing. It’s farcical, a bit silly and warm hearted. It has also garnered a pretty substantial fanbase, who were committed enough to kickstart the fundraising of season 3’s production.

Wooden Overcoats

Ciara Baxendale

Over the next few weeks, episodes from season 3, recorded back in December 2017, will be made available online. But, buy tickets to each live shows and you can watch the cast perform the next two episodes – the first will have been released to the general public the day before, the second will be an exclusive sneak peek at what is to come. In the first two of season 3, we have heard tales of romantic spats and literary erotica – but I can’t say more because I’ll give away too much of episode two (launches on 1 March)!

The live performance is a wholesome, slightly twee, yet entertaining and uplifting affair. The cast members physicalise their performance, perhaps for show, but more likely because that is the best way to inhabit the plethora of characters. Each of the eight are well homed in their craft, the five regulars more grounded in their personae (as expected) than the other three. From the subtly smug competitor Eric (Tom Crowley); the outwardly odd sister Antigone (Beth Eyre) and stuffy, oblivious brother Rudyard (Felix Trench); to the pragmatic, unflustered assistant Georgie (Ciara Baxendale), Barnes writes characters that we can recognise, ones with simple motives, drives and intentions. Wooden Overcoats is an uncomplicated affair, an easy-listening podcast that can wash over you to brighten up a stressful commute. Oh, and it’s narrated by a mouse (Alison Skilbeck in this live performance, Belinda Lang for the remainder of the podcast).

Wooden Overcoats

Beth Eyre

As someone who rarely listens to podcast or audiobooks, instead preferring to be buoyed along by music during his travel time or while working, I am not one to comment on the efficacy of this podcast against others in its field. But as a piece of theatrical dialogue, it meanders along with a pleasant, inoffensive tone. Wooden Overcoats leaves you smiling, washing away the troubles of the day – the acoustical equivalent of a fluffy dressing gown and comfortable slippers.

 

 

Wooden Overcoats live performances run on 9 March, 23 March and 6 April 2018 at King’s Place, London. To buy tickets, please visit the website here.

To listen to the previous season, visit the podcast website here.