Soldiers of Love Story One - Genesis


Starring: Michael Keating, Colin Baker and Nicholas Courtney
Available now

Ex game-show host Mydas Mydason wins a trip to the newly discovered planet of Voltarabia. So does brothel guard Cindy Rellar. Little do they realise that their "holiday" is part of a diabolical scheme by the villain known as the Editor...

Review Graveyard has pigeon-holed this review as "audio drama", but the term doesn't accurately encapsulate the nature of this production, the first in a series of ten CDs featuring actors from the British sci-fi shows Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Red Dwarf and The Tomorrow People. The CD blurb describes Soldiers of Love as a comedy drama, but that doesn't quite capture its spirit, either. Neither would the phrases "camp", "pantomime" or "lavatorial", although each of these aspects comes into play within a script written, directed and produced by Mark J. Thompson, who also acts in various roles.

Comparisons to The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy spring to mind, but then they often do when the genres of sci-fi and comedy are combined. On this occasion, however, the comparison is justified due to the presence of a sentient and rather depressed drinks machine (Yztabub, played by Mark Preston) and the penchant of Voltarabian Customs for excising tourists' body parts.

The level of innuendo is more reminiscent of a Carry On film, although the double entendres here are far filthier. For example, the delightfully seedy Mydas, played by Michael Keating (better known as Blake's 7's Vila) at one point angrily rants, "Have you ever had a fist in your mouth?" "Not in my mouth, no," replies the deadpan Norman Lovett (alias Red Dwarf's Holly) who plays Cilla, the unwilling transsexual henchman/woman of the Editor.

Bound by a contract that is a perverse variation of the one between Prospero and Ariel in The Tempest, Cilla cannot have his/her female sexual organs back until he/she has fulfilled his/her service to the evil Editor (a wonderfully over-the-top Colin Baker).

Other celebrity voices include a jovial Nicholas Courtney (Doctor Who's Brigadier) as the Voltarabian King Turnidus. Courtney is no stranger to the kind of bawdy humour - and musical numbers - that are featured here, being a veteran of The Rocky Horror Show. Meanwhile, former tomorrow person Sammie Winmill spoofs both Nicola Bryant's Peri and Sandra Dickinson's Trillian by means of Cindy's deliberately irritating phoney US accent.

This serial will not be to every listener's taste. Personally, I could have lived without the Abba-esque "Crew Song" on track 14. However, this production is certainly unique among the current offerings of the audio drama market.

Richard McGinlay