Refusing to go gentle into the dark night of lockdown, South Wales based Theatre Adhoc have produced a six-part satirical comedy series entitled Viral News, released on a weekly basis and now available to watch via YouTube.
The pilot episode Backed by the Science was produced as an audio comedy but by episode two Sex, Alcohol and Locking Down, Theatre Adhoc had developed the project into a fully visualised video conference comedy!
Viral News follows the exploits of the social media arm of the UK government’s News Co-ordination Centre as they attempt to communicate the public messages of the Coronavirus pandemic in an effective way.
The team is headed by senior civil servant Michael Montgomery (Jon Hall), who juggles this role with that of controlling the hapless minister and keeping his affair with Tabitha secret. Tabitha Archer (Julia Swain) is the second in command but unravels quickly when jilted by her married lover.
Patrick Miller (Peter Bourne) is an ageing journalist with a colourful past and a penchant for early morning cocktails. Joe Parsons (Andrew Pippen) is their IT expert – although “expert” is stretching the truth slightly as we are reminded that he only got his job because “his father knows the minister”.
Janice Coulson (Paula Lewis) is the Public Health expert, brought in to ensure the messages are “backed by the science”; she seems the only sensible member of the group but is she hiding a dark secret?
Each episode also welcomed a guest performer from within the ranks of Theatre Adhoc, with the final episode boasting three guests including a cameo appearance from Keith Milward of Radio Cardiff fame.
You can eavesdrop in on the news co-ordination centre meetings and discover why the public campaign had such an impact on the pandemic by heading over to Theatre Adhoc’s YouTube channel!