The Cambridge Geek

New Creatives Dramas

New Creatives is a programme of work, looking at getting younger people into the art industry, whether that's film, TV or radio. Given my interest is radio, thought I'd best take a listen to this first series of New Creatives Dramas, a collection of audio plays.

It's effectively a chance to let people make generally short pieces of 10-15ish minutes, and to have an explore with music, sound design and writing. That results in about ten pieces, with a rather wide-ranging scope, from horror to comedy to science fiction.

With that available length, these are short stories (with the exception of one I'll mention later), and so in some cases they feel a bit hamstrung, without the room to grow to full height. In particular, "Dem Times", a tale of a London lad sent to a Ghanaian school by underwhelmed parents, feels very much like a snippet of a larger show. A bit of googling suggests it might be, as it may have existed as a podcast/live show previously. Nice to see a bit here, but a full half an hour would have been preferable.

The same is true of Chop Chop, a pleasing bit of sitcom set in a women-staffed Halal butchers, which has probably got a fair bit of scope for a full series. (This probably requires eliminating certain elements of the ending, but then could make for a fun show.)

The two horror shorts that open the series do a decent job, again with the short time, though do both stick to some of the major tropes of horror storytelling, without much experimentation in the plot structure. That might be wise for a tiny slot like this, but they did have some good sound work. And the sci-fi piece has some novel world-building around the usage of graphene (especially in nail bars), but feels mostly like an infodump of a bigger story than a plot itself.

The rest are a bit variable, with eg an investigative reporter in the style of the recent James Veitch's Contractual Obligation, but without that show's self-awareness, meaning it's painfully stupid. A monologue about family and masculinity is well-told, and there's a few other more experimental pieces that I found myself drifting away from, which I suppose is its own judgment. The final episode is a full length exploration of transcripts from a seance, and despite having a couple of attempts, still not entirely sure what's meant to have happened.

Not a bad way of exploring the possibilities of potential creators, allowing a chance to play in the format and learn through doing, as well as finding those ideas that grip a bit more ferociously in the psyche and should be pushed a bit further along. Should be listened to as you would read an anthology. You'll never like everything you hear/read, but may well find a couple of gems.

Score 3

Tagged: Radio Drama Cast Fiction Anthology