I wasn't at all sure what to expect from this CD, but listened to it because it has Michael Keating on it. I was pleasantly surprised. It's a comedy with a flavour more reminiscent of Red Dwarf than anything else. It's set in the 22nd century, but the jokes are cheerfully and shamelessly 20th century in style.
I found myself smiling throughout most of it and chuckling at regular intervals.
Michael Keating plays Mydas Mydason an ex-game show host who little suspects that his new wife, Maureen, is after his life insurance money. There are numerous comic references to various improbable game shows that he has hosted over the years. Mydas and Cindy (played by Sammie Winmill) are both winners of a competition for a free holiday - or is it a set-up? Things rapidly get highly suspicious and our characters get more and more worried.
Along the way, we meet King Turnidus, an alien with a trunk, delightfully played by Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier from Dr Who). Turnidus was possibly my favourite character of them all, being rather child-like and delighted when anything interesting happens to break the boredom of his life. Then there's Cilla, an unwilling trans-sexual who wants to be a woman again, played in an instantly recognisable style by Norman Lovett (Holly from Red Dwarf), and a depressed drinks dispenser played by Mark Preston. The mysterious editor of Stellar Network Radio is played by Colin Baker in true megalomaniac fashion. If you enjoyed Bayban the Butcher, look no further.
My only real reservation is that there is a bit too much expositionary dialogue in one or two places. I'm sure the characters don't really need to be told what a transmat is. The play doesn't take itself seriously at all. Characters make asides to the audience and one of my favourite moments is when they all chorus a really classic cliché in unison. Everyone is hamming it up and the play is all the funnier for it.
The humour is happily smutty and full of double-entendres. "Let's just say I like a jumbo sausage on my plate." "How dare you! I hosted the galactic lottery." "Fiddling with those balls means nothing to me."
I'll definitely be listening to it again. If you want to hear Michael Keating, then this is a far far better buy than either of the BBC radio plays. Even better, two more of the Blake's 7 cast are scheduled to appear in the next episode along with Michael Keating. Jackie Pearce as a very camp brothel owner sounds like great fun and I suspect Gareth will have a ball playing the villain. I can see them both having a chance to go totally over the top and really enjoying doing so.
Having heard the first one, I'd say it was a good buy even without the bonus of having familiar actors in it. It lasts about 72 minutes.
The cover art is an attractive colour montage of the actors (looks a lot better than the bland logo on The Syndeton Experiment).
Judith's rule states that "If I like it, I'll sell it." I now have copies for sale at 9 pounds including UK postage.
Cost to Europe 9.50 pounds. USA 10 pounds. (or $17 cash) Australia 10.25 pounds
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