The Cambridge Geek

Deep Space Death Cruise

Definitely cheating with this post, given the radio show is only fifteen minutes long. I'll try and make it take less time than that to read.

It's time for another of the Short Works, which I listen to occasionally, but only rarely find interesting enough to shout about.

This happens to be one of those. Written by Harry Venning, the creator of the Clare in the Community comic strip, (on which the Radio 4 series is based), this is a nice bit of sci-fi comedy.

Jeff Rawle, playing a character called Jeff, is away on holiday in the year 2118. He's taking a space cruise through the depths of space, taking in the wonder of space and looking out of the window at all the amazing space things you see. Space.

Since Jeff is determined to always get his money's worth out of his holidays, he tends to keep an audio journal about the little annoyances that he encounters, for the aim of hunting down some compensation later. We're listening in to those log entries, as he journeys through the cosmos on the luxury cruise (space)ship, the Weston Supernova.

He's not a very happy traveler is our Jeff, getting into disagreements with his wife about her fawning over the Captain, trying to stop the annoying French couple from throwing food around, and dealing with a particularly sticky issue with the toilet doors. There's also an encounter with a "party asteroid", troublesome robot waiters and a difficult burial at sea.

In some of these short works, you often find that either the voice or the writing really stand out, and make the whole hang together even if one of the two is middling. Here, however, the writing is frankly brilliant, and pairing it with Rawle was an excellent move. It's always funny and frequently hilarious, and Rawle's dry, long-suffering delivery is the perfect match for it.

It's a very tightly written quarter of an hour, with no misses, and telling an impressively detailed story in the small space it's got to work with. Part of me really wants a collection of sequels featuring the further adventures of Jeff, as he struggles through various sci-fi tropes, maybe time travel or similar. There's probably enough here for a week's worth of shorts, especially given how glorious the style is.

Tagged: Radio Comedy Monologue Sitcom Science fiction

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