It's always remarkable to think just how many great comedic stories are born from Armageddon. From Strangelove style political satire to slapstick outings, many tales have turned everything from the verge of annihilation to survival in the wake of the apocalypse into a laugh riot. To this end, Radiation World proves once again that nuclear annihilation can be truly hilarious.
Set centuries after humanity was all but wiped out, the last bastion of the species waits in a failing underground bunker for the end. With sterility widespread among its populace, with so much knowledge of the old world lost to them, doom seems inevitable. All this changes when an exploration ship arrives from distant shores...
There's an inherent insanity in the very concept of this tale once it gets going, one the creative team were wholly aware of. The actors don't merely wink at the audience here but wholly embrace the madness itself, playing up performances to borderline camp levels and even using downright clichéd sound effects at times. While this would normally be the death of any story, the sheer willingness to play up this factor and the talent of the cast helps pull it through. As a result, it goes from insufferable right back around to being genuinely funny again.
It certainly helps that the script is incredibly intelligent in its own way, with the writers knowing when and when not to tap into certain story ideas. While it makes fun of overplayed post-apocalyptic tropes many times over, the audio drama takes time to make more than once intelligent twist. As if often the case with these, you become so used to expecting the obvious that these hit you completely by surprise, especially a last second alteration to the story in the final episode. Combined with its fast pace and constantly shifting environment, this helps make it engaging even as it seemingly sticks to ideas you have seen a thousand times over.
The only real point which might prove to be off-putting to listeners is how the zany comedy dominates the story, often drowning out all else. It’s well presented to be sure, but it often overrides crucial elements such as character development or world building. The vast number of characters present also seems to exist largely to serve comedic purposes over all else, and as such it never quite strikes a silly/serious balance some might want.
Despite this, Radiation World never fails to be downright fun. As a mix of concepts usually reserved for Red Dwarf and Fallout, the writing remains strong throughout and the performances brilliantly reflect the overt nature of the script. If you have a spare hour or two, definitely make the time to listen to this one.
RADIATION WORLD / WRITER: HARI RAI KHALSA / SOUND ENGINEER: SAHIB SIMRAN KHALSA / STARRING: DYLAN NORMAN, FERNANDO GONZALES, ISSAC CHRISTIE, MELISSA CHAMBERS, ZOEY REESE, QUINN SCICLUNA / PUBLISHER: N/A / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (FREE DOWNLOAD)