Review: Sometime Never / Director: Neil Gardner / Author: Scott Harrison / Publisher: Spokenworld Audio, Ladbroke Audio Ltd Music: James Dunlop / Starring: Simon Jones, Rosalyn Landor / Release Date: Out Now
First episodes can be rather tricky affairs, especially for genre stories. The first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not very good, they had to reshoot the first ever episode of Doctor Who completely and the entire first season of Blackadder is rubbish. Sometime Never is the first audio drama in a proposed ongoing series, and it joins this fine tradition of disappointing starts with bags of potential.
The set-up is an interesting one. The tale begins with supernatural investigator Nancy Timperley walking around a desolate and long-forgotten holiday camp. A chance encounter with a mysterious (and extremely smug) man called David Voland slowly unravels the tragic events that led Nancy to her lonely path of spook hunting, though the ghosts she seeks aren’t quite what you expect. It is superbly produced and acted; the performances are strong and the production values are great. We genuinely care about the characters and their strange little lives are accessible and engaging; it’s just a pity that we don’t get more time to know them before it all goes weird.
There is an awful lot of promise here. The mood and general atmosphere of the piece is clearly influenced by classic British sci-fi; a touch of Doctor Who here and a dash of Sapphire and Steel there. Unfortunately this does mean that a lot of the dialogue focuses on exposition and world-building rather than generating dramatic tension. This leaves the listener disinterested and bored, especially as line after line sets up more exposition. It cannot quite decide if it’s a ghost story, a mystery tale, a set up for a much more bizarre tale or simply a well-told sad drama. This makes it messy and uneven throughout.
However, it’s hard not to see the great potential that Sometime Never has. With any luck we’ll see more of Mr Voland and his disturbing revelations. Time will tell.