national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, October 20, 2012


(Frank Graham)

Nostalgic and memorable journey back to the days of the entertainment phenomenon that was Springbok Radio. (Review by Keith Millar)

Ah, the memories! Springbok Radio in its heyday. Serials, dramas, quizzes and music shows. Squad Cars, Inspector Car Investigates, Consider Your Verdict, Test The Team and so much more.

What about the fantastic comedy shows which were recorded in the Durban studios? Men from The Ministry, Father Dear Father, The Navy Lark, and Friends and Neighbours? Central to all of these shows is Frank Graham, playing many of the most hilariously funny comic characters ever heard on radio.

Remember Able Seaman Johnson from The Navy Lark? Or Percy Snodgrass from Friends and Neighbours? Venabable, the Italian opera singer and the asthmatic Mathews from The Men From the Ministry?  All these and so many more were created by the super-talented and versatile Frank Graham.

Comedian, voice artist, singer and actor Frank Graham has turned raconteur in his new show, There Was A Time …, as he leads his audience on a nostalgic and memorable journey back to the days of the entertainment phenomenon that was Springbok Radio.

Frank touches on the history of radio broadcasting and then tells about the origins of radio comedy with BBC programmes such as Hancock’s Half Hour, The Glums in Take It From Here and the iconic Goon Show. Many of the very funny and whacky characters from these shows are recreated by Frank during the telling.

He then moves on to chat about Springbok Radio and the many personalities and shows which made the station so great. Many signature tunes (siggies) and sound clips are played and the audience has great fun trying to guess the show or the voice. Broadcast icons such as Eric Eagan, Evie Martin, Clark McKay, Esmé Euvrard and Bob Courtney, among many others, are remembered. As are the abundance of wonderful shows such as The Creaking Door, Jet Jungle, Lux Radio Theatre, High Adventure and Taxi.

Then just for a change of pace, Frank sings a couple of songs from My Fair Lady. Perhaps not quite in keeping with the theme of the show but entertaining nonetheless.

The show ends with Frank reminiscing about the marvelously talented team which created the superb comedy shows that were recorded in the Durban studios. He plays three sound clips as examples of the work he did in these shows. This serves as a hilarious reminder of how royally we were entertained, for so many years, by the many brilliant individuals who were part of Springbok Radio.

Anyone with fond memories of the great days of Springbok Radio will love this show. The Rhumbelow Theatre is a warm and friendly venue and lends itself perfectly to this sort of laid-back production.

There Was a Time ….has three more performances: tonight (October 20) at 20h00 and tomorrow (October 21) at 14h00 and 18h30. (Venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner). Tickets R100 (R75 pensioners). Bring food picnic baskets. Braais will be available and there is a cash bar (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). There is limited secure parking. Booking is essential through Roland on 031 205 7602 or 082 499 8636. For more information visit