Through the magic of the internet, I have had the opportunity to come across many things. One of the things I am finding myself liking recently are audio plays. The type of thing that harkens back to the old days before television where people would literally gather around the radio for in home entertainment. Thanks to some sneaky people, I have been introduced to some quality BBC Radio stuff. Listening to some, you can see why our great grandparents were often glued to the radio the way we glue ourselves to our televisions. A well done audio play really does allow you to picture scenes within your head without it being already done for you on a screen.
One of these audio plays I have come to enjoy is “Cabin Pressure” written by John Finnemore and stars Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch and John Finnemore with a recurring character played by Anthony Head. This show is comedic gold. Each episode we follow the exploits of the crew of the single charter plane owned by MJN Air. Episode titles follow an alphabetical sequence, beginning with the first episode, “Abu Dhabi”, followed by “Boston” etc. The last episode is to be recorded on the 23rd of February entitled “Zurich”. Sadly we ran out of letters in the English alphabet. The whole cast is wonderful and play off of each other rather well. No one character carries the show, it is everyone pulling their weight performance wise that makes this show work. If you’re able to find the recordings of this show, it is worth a listen but be warned you will probably laugh yourself to tears.
Another show worth finding is “Neverwhere” based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and dramatised by Dirk Maggs. It follows the story of Richard Mayhew who encounters an injured girl named Door on the street one night. Despite his fiancée’s protests he decides to help her; upon doing so he ceases to exist on Earth and becomes real only to the denizens of ‘London Below’, a parallel world below the streets of London, whose inhabitants are generally invisible to the people of ‘London Above’. He loses his house, his job and nearly his mind as he travels London Below in an attempt to make sense out of it all, find a way back, and help Door survive as she is hunted down by hired assassins. It stars James McAvoy as Richard, Natalie Dormer as Door, and David Harewood as Marquis de Carabas, plus a star studded cast including Christopher Lee, Bernard Cribbins, Benedict Cumberbatch (totally chilling performance as the Angel Islington, gave me goosebumps), Anthony Head (a baddie of course lol), George Harris, and many more notables of British stage and screen. Neil Gaiman has always been a great storyteller having written some of the finest fiction novels, comic books, graphic novels, and screenplays for both film and television. This is an excellent adaptation.