Theatre Review: Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor 

Starring: Cecil Baldwin

Theatre: London Palladium

Dates: Saturday 22 October 2016

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I’ve been listening to Welcome to Night Vale for a long time now and it was my first and remains one of my favourite podcasts to listen to. For those that aren’t familiar with Night Vale, a quick synopsis: the podcast is in the style of a community radio broadcast for the desert town of Night Vale. The host of the radio show is Cecil Gershwin Palmer who shares news, announcements and advertisements as well as the strange things that happen in the small town – you get the whole gamut from weather (actually music) to the dark hooded figures in the dog park who you must not approach under any circumstance… 

As it’s probably clear from the above summary, this isn’t your run of the mill podcast nor you usual community radio show, no sireee. Welcome to Night Vale has the best damn deadpan humour and a taste for all things paranormal and just, well, downright odd. I think the humour is quite specific and know the show isn’t for everyone but it’s always one that I find myself returning to. I’ve dipped in and out of it over the years and that’s the beauty of Night Vale – you can come back to it without feeling totally out of the loop because each episode is standalone. I also find it’s not as demanding as some other podcasts (like my true crime casts which require all of my attention *side eyes Serial*); when I relisten to episodes I tend to just have it on in the background. 

I’ve never been to a performance where it’s pretty much spoken word – there’s no heavy acting in Welcome to Night Vale. It has a ghost stories theme which was fitting what with it so close to Halloween! The show was similar to the podcast experience, with Cecil delivering brilliant news, except this time he was right in front of you and you really get to experience the gestures and facial expressions which was really cool and just enchanced his already fantastic narration. There were nods to recognisable segments like the Weather (featuring the wonderful Eliza Rickman), Horoscopes and Community Calendar and also featured some of the brilliant recurring characters such as the Sheriff. All the great in jokes are there but even though the show generally stayed true to the podcast, there’s definitely enough new material for it to feel fresh and exciting.

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I think the best thing about going to watch Welcome to Night Vale was seeing a 2000+ crowd all eager to see the show. The fan following of Night Vale is really what has kept the podcast going from strength to strength over the years and there’s something really special about fans getting together to experience something like this – whether it’s die hard fans who have been with the podcast from the very beginning and were in their cosplaying element or the newbie brought along by their other half. The excitement and humour in the show is infectious and the performance by the actors so gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed Welcome to Night Vale and may have bought some merchandise as souvenirs – really great that a lot of it was exclusive to the tour!

Unfortunately, the tour only had a couple of UK dates but I highly recommend you get tickets the next time they’re in town if you’re a fan. And if not, get listening! The show is definitely worth a go – new episodes are released fortnightly and you can find more info about the show here. I’ll finish by signing off in the only way appropriate: ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD.

Are you a fan of Night Vale? Do you have a favourite segment/character? Or maybe you swear by another podcast? Recs always welcome – seriously, huge podcast fan over here. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Theatre Review: Welcome to Night Vale

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