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Audio Drama Review


Volume 1 - Dark Descent


Starring: Shane Hyland, Peter Wright, Rob Tromp, James Loy and Deb Federici
Ollin Productions
RRP: £10.99, US $12.99
Available 09 February 2009

When dreams and madness become manifest the world is transformed into an ever mutating kaleidoscope of horror against which civilisation cannot stand. As the effects radiate out the world no longer resembles Earth as it becomes Afterhell...

Afterhell is a new audio drama from producer Jamie Lawson and writer Joseph Medina. The CD holds the first chapter (35 min, 20 sec) as well as a Coming Soon (1 min, 08 sec) and a radio interview with Lawson and Medina (25 min) where they talk about the show.

The premise of the show is ambitious in its scope. The story opens with a warning transmission from the future where Earth has become the new Hell, following the unleashing of every dark and perverse thought and nightmare that humans can conceive. Under this onslaught civilisation falters and falls. However, when our story opens, the police are tracking down a mass murder known as The Tank who seems oddly impossible to stop. Above all of this news reporter Nathan Lao tracks the carnage. Initially it appears to be just another psychopath, but the spread of the terror and the police’s inability to stop him points to something much bigger.

So how well did the play do? Well it’s only the first show so the action takes place in a single city location, so I didn’t get the sense of civilisation on the brink of collapse or the scope of the problem - that may well appear in the following shows.

The basic premise (monsters of the mind) is not new, having been previously explored by Polish science fiction author Stanisław Lem in his novel Solaris (pub 1961) and by Fred M. Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet (1956). Nor is the presentation of a civilisation giving way to madness (Asimov - Nightfall, pub 1941), even the depiction of a hell on earth has been recently used in the Resident Evil Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007), but even so Afterhell still has a lot to offer.

I was pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism in both the vocal acting and the overall presentation - though I thought that Rob Tromp’s vocal depiction of Tank, as having a deep, rasping voice, was a little too generic. Although, I suppose that the success of many of the depictions will eventually come down to a matter of personal taste. I also would have liked more fear, dread and horror to have been portrayed by Shane Hyland who plays the central cop, Feinman.

Still these are early days on an ambitious project and whilst the show failed to depict the scale of the creeping horror it did do enough to make me want to hear the subsequent chapters. Hopefully the later releases will have more than a single show per disc, otherwise - at just under eleven quid - thirty-five minutes of material does not stack up well against rival discs.


Charles Packer

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