Artwork by Lee Sullivan

Yesterday, a new science fiction audio drama called The Minister of Chance was officially released. I’d like to share with you my review of Episode 1 (originally posted on Geeky Pleasures), as I think it is something many of the readers here at NiB will enjoy.

If you were going to spend £1.49 today, or any day for that matter, then I highly recommend you spend it on Episode 1: The Broken World of The Minister of Chance (@ministerchance).

Officially released yesterday, The Minister of Chance, is a masterfully produced audio drama from the UK. Superbly acted, with an amazing cast of characters, and with rich, lavish, immersive soundscapes, you are magically hurled into the reality that is this story.

In Episode 1, you’ll hear the voices of:

  • Julian Wadham – The Minister
  • Jenny Agutter – Professor Cantha
  • Lauren Crace – Kitty
  • Paul Darrow – Lord Rathen
  • Stuart Fox – Porcher
  • Richard Garaghty – Match Werming
  • Lloyd Hutchinson – Menin
  • Gareth Jones – Corporal Sona
  • Petra Massey – Gurk
  • Sylvester McCoy – The Witch Prime
  • Paul McGann – Durian
  • Kane Sharpe – Rosta

The Minister of Chance is a work of wonderful science fiction, in which science has been outlawed in favour of magic, scientists are imprisoned by the ruling magic class in order to fashion weapons of mass destruction and war has broken out. The story may not be new but the way in which it is delivered certainty is. It is a wonderful commentary on many of today’s current issues in the world; from the battle between superstitious thinking and science, the struggles in the Middle East for democracy and freedom and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. When Episode 1 was recorded last summer, the struggles of Northern Africa had not yet begun, however the Iranian protests were not a distant memory.

Entertaining and engaging, I found myself having to re-listen to Episode 1 a few times, as there is just so much going on and layer upon layer of rich sounds, which caused me to get lost in them and caused me to want to listen one more time, in order to hear all that was going on. Then that one more time became another, until I had realised I was listening to it for the forth time.

For a brief glimpse into Episode 1, listen to the trailer found here.

Normally, my brain has issues listening to audio-only which requires active listening (audiobooks as an example) rather than passive listening (music as an example). I do not do well when read to, unless I am following along with the reader. Unless I am engaged in conversation or watching a presentation, my mind gets bored and I wander and drift away into other worlds. Listening to The Minister of Chance, I never got bored as it allowed me to wander and drift into the world of Tanto and drink up the atmosphere. I could smell, taste, see and touch the environment.

Aside from the wonderful sound and voice acting, the dialogue is brilliant. It is witty, charming, intelligent, humourous and you may not want to sit down with grandmum over tea to listen. There is some not suitable for work language, however it is never gratuitous. Every thing is purposeful and I think it serves its purpose well.

I am not sure how much I want to get into the events of the first episode. I am afraid that if I did, it would end up being a spoiler. I will tell you, this is a must purchase and listen. I think The Minister of Chance will be enjoyed by all, not just science fiction fans, as the story and production is engaging enough to entertain audiences of all forms.

Before you , you will want to listen to the Prologue: The Pointed Hand. There are important bits to the plot which come to light in the prologue. It is free for download.

I do not think I can stress enough that this is a must . Not only is it highly entertaining but after Episode 2 is released in April, there will be no future episodes produced until enough funds are raised. You see, this is a completely independent project, with no outside advertiser funding, grant funding or BBC funding. There will be multiple seasons, each consisting of 6 episodes. Each episode will be produced as the proceeds from direct sales allows. It really is a wonderful sales model, but it does depend on your support.

And remember, tonight, Friday, March 18, 2011, beginning at 7 pm PDT, 10 pm EDT, 2 am (Saturday) GMT, my interviews with Lauren Crace (Kitty) and Sylvester McCoy (The Witch Prime) will air on the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show on The Force 925 (@TheForce925). We discussed a little bit of the making of, the plot and how it can be related to today’s global events, character development, other projects they’ve worked on and are currently working on and more.

About Lauren Crace

Lauren graduated from RADA in 2008. During her final year she was cast as series regular Danielle Jones in EASTENDERS for which she was awarded the TV Quick & TV Choice Best Newcomer award and two Best Storyline awards. Her Theatre credits include Cécile de Volanges in Toby Frow’s production of LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES at Salisbury Playhouse and Young Dee in AND I AND SILENCE at The Finborough. She appeared in the GREAT GAME, part of the BBC’s recent and critically acclaimed SHERLOCK series and later in 2011 will be seen in the role of Joan in Aisling Walsh’s ROOM AT THE TOP for BBC4, as well as a guest lead in HOLBY CITY and the forthcoming BBC legal drama SILK.

 

 

 

About Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester came to prominence as a member of the comedy act THE KEN CAMPBELL ROADSHOW. His best known act was as a stuntman character called “Sylveste McCoy” in an entertainment entitled AN EVENING WITH SYLVESTE McCOY THE HUMAN BOMB where his stunts included putting a nail up his nose, stuffing ferrets down his trousers, exploding a bomb on his chest, and if the audience behaved themselves, setting his head on fire. As a joke, the programme notes listed Sylveste McCoy as played by “Sylveste McCoy” and, after a reviewer missed the joke assuming Sylveste McCoy was a real person, Kent-Smith adopted this as his stage name, some years later adding an ‘r’. Well known for playing the seventh incarnation of the Doctor in the hugely popular TV series DOCTOR WHO, he then revived the role in the Doctor Who television movie with Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor. Notable television appearances before he gained the role of the Doctor included roles in VISION ON (where he played Pepe/Epep, a character who lived in the mirror), an O-Man in JIGSAW and TISWAS. His stage performances range from the title role in The National Theatre’s production of THE PIED PIPER and The Fool in Trevor Nunn’s KING LEAR alongside Ian McKellen for the Royal Shakespeare Company to Mushnik in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and Puck in Welsh National Opera’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. He has just finished playing ‘Grimes’ in a highly acclaimed production of Evelyn Waugh’s DECLINE & FALL and also portrayed, on the stage, two famous movie comedians: Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton. He recently guest starred in an episode of the BBC’s series DOCTORS playing an actor who once played the time-travelling hero of a children’s television series called The Amazing Lollipop Man, especially written for Sylvester. He will shortly start filming in New Zealand in the role of ‘Radagast The Brown’ in Peter Jackson’s movie versions of THE HOBBIT.