Ottawa’s The Velvet Duke returns to the Halifax Fringe Festival with All Request Radio, a musical improv show disguised as a radio station sharing a live-on-location countdown of requested songs.
This show is my Venn diagram of wishing to be a radio DJ and spreading joy through comedic music…
We learn more in this Q&A with writer and performer The Velvet Duke.
This interview has been edited.
Tell us about All Request Radio. What can audiences expect?
All Request Radio is a 60-minute musical improv show disguised as a radio station sharing a live-on-location countdown of requested songs. To amp up the complexity of the challenge, the musical playlist is randomized, and the audience generates made-up song titles. In addition to The Velvet Duke singing the songs, there are made-up news weather traffic segments and cameo performances by local and Fringe performers. Seven of the eight performances will be ASL-English interpreted.
What inspired All Request Radio?
This show is my Venn diagram of wishing to be a radio DJ and spreading joy through comedic music, similar to the Wayne Brady, Craig Robinson, and Reggie Watts of the world.
Why this particular show now?
This interactive show models agency and accessibility. It is a respectful, fun, and very public conversation between the audience and the performer, told through song title choices and musical responses, with foundational accessibility measures instead of afterthoughts.
What do you hope audiences leave All Request Radio talking about?
I hope people share their favourite made-up song with others and maybe even have a new musical earworm for a day or two. On a grander level, I hope they internalize the realization that they can also find ways past stumbles in their life just like they may witness on stage in an improvised concert.
Why should someone come to see All Request Radio?
One of three reasons: one, they enjoyed last year’s award-winning (Re)Tired Magical Black Man and want to support what I’m up to this year; two, they love musical improvisation; and three, it handily fits their schedule between the other shows at Neptune Theatre.
The Halifax Fringe Festival returns from August 31 through September 10, with more than 60 productions taking place at venues across the city.