Monday, February 11, 2013

Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective - AudioReview

Article author: Alwyn Ash

Digging the new sound, people! Welcome to another fun-filled ride from the makers of The Scarifyers...

Popular author Paul Magrs isn't new to creating spectacularly intriguing characters, having already given us the wonderful Iris Wildthyme; Whitby's tea-drinking Brenda and Effie also conjure up spellbinding yarns as they investigate a mystery or two. But his recent step into the audio Universe brings us a tale of cosmic proportions...

Lauren Kellegher plays Poppy Munday in this double-disc audio drama from Bafflegab (formerly Cosmic Hobo). She is a fangirl of glam rocker Vince Cosmos; the year is 1972. Released as an "album" of song titles, this ingenious tale revolves around the mystery of dwarf Mr Glister, who is living upstairs from Poppy and flatmate Trish, and the "assassination" of Vince during a concert. My first "delight", other than Kellegher herself, was the introduction of Katy Manning as dotty landlady Gilda Fairbanks - her charm and warmth shining through in every scene. Poppy chooses to spend her days listening to Vince Cosmos LPs whilst clearly avoiding any kind of job search.

The first half of the tale is fairly slow but not uninteresting; Kellegher's narration (joined by the endearing qualities that Manning touches upon throughout) keeps the spirits high and eager as the story progresses. As a debut, it is a safe choice to play it steady, whilst introducing the characters and setting everything in place for what is to come in both the second half of this play, and follow-up titles.

The music is wonderfully achieved here, embracing early 1970s glam rock with style - following this album with songs from T. Rex, David Bowie, Sweet, and Roxy Music is highly recommended! Julian Rhind-Tutt as the charismatic Cosmos is a perfect choice, the rocker so charismatic, compelling and narcissistic. But then, he is here on a mission - or so he claims!

What surprises me is the amount of style that has been put into the whole package, including a sleeve that promises a double disc of music with tracks such as "Intergalactic Visas", "Kinema Karma", "Those Crazy Martian Cats", and "Stellar Benedictions", along with the message, "This is the first full album of new songs by the already-legendary space icon Vince Cosmos! Take it home, glam yourselves up, and turn it on full blast, kiddos. The Saviour of the Solar System has come to teach you how to play!"

And so back to the story... Poppy, who is already the secretary of Vince Cosmos' fan club, cannot believe her luck when she discovers that her impossible dream is about to come true - she has won a competition to meet her idol. Oh yeah, man, groovy! This being Magrs' playground, it isn't long before we get to see (yes I know, "hear" and imagine) silver-eyed aliens and another assassination attempt on the life of Vince. This is where Poppy's life changes even more dramatically - and a shock revelation sends her running. However, it isn't long before she is drawn back into the life of a legend...

There is plenty here to satisfy any sci-fi fan, for the play promises Martian invaders intent on world domination after their failed attempt at the end of the last century. And, this time around, they are disguised as Humans! For those of you familiar with the 1988 War of the Worlds television series (starring Jared Martin) there will, no doubt, be a smile at the similarities, add a sprinkling of musical elements and you have a re-imagined War of the Worlds: The Musical on your hands, or tentacles, or whatever you may have been blessed with...

Though Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing) is the big star, the debut of Vince Cosmos belongs to Lauren Kellegher; this is her journey, and I feel privileged to have shared it with the young actress! And, as one story ends, I am awaiting the next adventure with an excitement I haven't felt since first hearing The Scarifyers, also a Bafflegab production.

At this point, mention must also be given to Simon Barnard for producing and directing this heart-warming tale; Edwin Sykes for the music, performed by Chance; Paul Morris for his out-of-this-world lyrics; and the cast and crew in general, for a production that is filled with fun and humour, glam, and enough glitter to fill the London Palladium.

Bafflegab - official website
Lauren Kellegher - official website