Monday, April 17, 2017

Radio Drama Review - The Shadow: Partners of Peril



I'm huge fan of pulp fiction and old time radio dramas. It's really sad how little new material is produced from each of these genres. Recently, Audible released a new performance of an old classic.

The Shadow: Partners of Peril is a 2017 full-cast production of the original pulp fiction story from 1935. It's available as an Audiobook.

Overview


The Shadow is a mysterious figure who fights crime and has a network of informants to help. The very first Batman story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate in Detective Comics 27 is nearly identical in plot to this story and many think Bill Finger, one of Batman's creators, was heavily inspired by it (or maybe blatantly stole it).

The Good


Performance and Production. Audible Studios did a great job to provide a fine cast and fitting music. Every part of this production was really well done.


Breakneck pace. Pulp fiction is known for it's breakneck pace, especially series like The Shadow and The Spider. This story begins with a murder and doesn't let off the throttle until the very end, several bodies later.

Fun. Pulp fiction and old-time radio have a real sense of fun, and this production captured it perfectly.


The Bad


Slightly Melodramatic Performances. The voice actors all added an air of melodrama to their performances, probably trying to evoke the 1930s or add a nostalgic air. Whatever their reason, it distracted from the seriousness of the story.


Typical Story Problems with Pulp Fiction. Pulp fiction was written very quickly which gave it a lot of fun energy and power, but it also resulted in some ludicrous story plots and twists. If you think very hard about the story, you'll see a quite a few problems. It moves quickly enough that it's easy to get lost in the action and ignore it.


What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish the actors and actresses had played their roles a little more straight and not so melodramatic. Old time radio was serious. The melodrama is a result of age, not a deliberate act.



Overall


The Shadow: Partners of Peril is a well-produced adaption of a classic Shadow story. The actors and producers perfectly capture the feel of pulp fiction and old-time radio. Fans will be overjoyed while modern audiences unfamiliar with those genres may find it dated, slow, and contrived. I give it 3.5 out of 5 microphones.


 


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