Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dilation (2019) - AudioReview

Release date: 2019
Writer: Max Hochrad. Director: Max Hochrad

"Sometimes it doesn't matter how clever you are at running away..."

One of the things I've always admired is the way British sci-fi of old wasn't afraid to give us a harsh future where life is ruled by one extreme corporation or power; in Dilation it is the Forman Corporation. It's also the first time that b7 Media have teamed up with Par-sec Productions to bring us something different and intriguing.

"Calling Eagle, this is Dove..."

Scientist Amanda Higgs (Sioned Jones) has a secret. While trying to sell some jewellery, she meets young shop assistant Marnie (Rebecca Ross), who recommends the woman to Frank; he offers a grand for each ring. From this moment on the two women are connected, as Marnie recommends accommodation and even sells her own car to the mysterious stranger. What we discover is that Amanda is trying to reconnect with someone from her past: boyfriend Tom Stanley. She uses radio to try and make contact, using their code names of "Eagle" and "Dove". Sadly there is no response...

While listening to Dilation I do get a sense of just how possible this bleak future could be, think the awful mess the UK is in presently. It's a grey world where everyone is just trying their best to exist. There are regular power cuts, and so electric generators are sold to the public, whether they work efficiently or are just a bit dodgy. Those who sell them and profit from them don't really care.

I like Marnie very much, she's bored with the norm and simply wants to help someone, anyone. In this case it happens to be Amanda. Gradually a picture of this stranger's life forms. She has travelled 40 years in time from the past, it wasn't meant to be a solo journey but fate decided otherwise. This is why she is now trying to locate Tom, who was left behind.

Where there is money to be made...

The Forman Corporation is interested in Amanda's work. Where there is genius and something worth selling, there will always be unscrupulous people who will rub their hands together. We are taken to an abandoned building in Wales that contains a laboratory. This is where Amanda used to work before she fled from the past. Her work would benefit the whole population, it is said. In such unpromising times, anything could be an improvement.

It's just a matter of staying one step ahead of others...

"I set out to create a mysterious piece that uses layers of sound..."

For Max Hochrad, of Par-sec Productions, Dilation was a step in a new direction. Talking about this original 90-minute sci-fi thriller, "I’ve never been a fan of time travel, always thought it brought up too many conundrums: problems with accidentally killing off your entire family, that sort of thing. However, time dilation theories and their variants do allow time travel of a sort, albeit only into the future. And borrowing from these ideas, I went on a strange journey, wondering what it would be like for someone to escape into the future, trying to escape their past".

Even Andrew Mark Sewell, Executive Producer of B7 Media, knew Dilation was a perfect fit, "For us Dilation reflected the production values that have become the hallmark of B7 Media’s audio dramas. Immersive drama, creating environments that sound real and lived-in".

A future that is just around the corner?

Dilation is frighteningly relatable and it makes for a grounded environment. Who knows what the future will be like in another 40 years? Or even sooner? There are times when we all want to escape from the realities of life. But as we also know, life has a way of following you all the way, no matter how far or fast you run.

And who is to say that where you end up is actually any better?