The Cambridge Geek

Attention HellMart Shoppers!

The HelloMart is built on a cursed burial ground, next to a burned down lunatic asylum, and has a basement that holds the gates to hell. As you might expect, that tends to cause the occasional problem, and this shop doesn't have a Buffy.

What it does have is Daniel (Danny to his friends), a recently caught, sentenced, convicted and paroled embezzler, who has been assigned a job as a retail worker as part of his parole. Since Danny was previously an important chap in finance, there's a certain level of culture shock.

There's also a bit of actual shock due both to his co-workers (vampires, hiding Nazis, gangsters) and the things that crop up in his day to day life (giant chickens, pirates, employees being trapped in TVs). And it's not helped by Chet, who had been intending his cousin for the role Danny stepped into, and now is trying to make Danny's life a living hell (though oddly, a sexy one).

It's mostly a one man show, with Thoreau Smiley doing all of the voices except one, that of Danny's potential love interest, Emily. The chap's range is impressive, but having recently listened to so many full cast podcasts, it doesn't have quite the same effect. There are the usual problems with women who sound a bit too nasal, and a couple of minor characters who can get confused.

The sound work is relatively minor, but never feels out of place. The small touches of background complement the dialogue, which is mostly decent. The real value is in the plotting, with some very silly things happening but in a believable manner for the premise. There's a lot of variety in what's going on, and the two-act format gives it a nice flow.

I think a few years back I'd have been an ardent listener to this one, but there's too much competition in the field nowadays. It doesn't quite sparkle enough to get on my regular listens list.

Score 3

Tagged: Audio fiction Comedy Two hander Sitcom Workplace/Employment Serial