Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Week in Listening: The Strange Case of Springheel'd Jack

Followers of our Facebook page already know that I'm a fan of The Wireless Theatre Company. Headquartered in London, Wireless produces shows across a wide spectrum of genres, all with consistently high quality. In its philosophy and approach, Wireless is as similar to Chatterbox as any other group working today.

Their most recent release is the third installment of a series called The Strange Case of Springheel'd Jack. Written by Gareth Parker and Robert Valentine, Springheel'd Jack is a Gothic adventure mystery with a heavy dose of supernaturalism thrown in. Unfolding in lean 30-minute segments, the show features excellent writing, performances, sound design, and music.

Set at the dawn of the Victorian era, The Strange Case of Springheel'd Jack follows Constable Jonah Smith as he and his partner, Constable Toby Hooks, investigate a series of attacks carried out by what witnesses call a monster. The description of the creature is alarmingly similar to an apparition Smith recalls from his childhood. What's the connection? How do the attacks relate to a mysterious young woman and a wealthy lord? And who are those two odd-couple thugs who keep trying to kill our heroes?

The listener will probably guess at the solution to the mystery before Smith does, but the story is a great ride nonetheless. The increasing wildness of the proceedings are grounded by Christopher Finney's lead performance as Constable Smith. Mr. Finney leads an excellent cast in creating realistic, relatable characters. When the thrills come, then, they're even more thrilling, because we honestly care about what happens to these people.

The third episode of Springheel'd Jack ends with the promise of more, and if more materialize, I'll happily take them. But the three shows that have been released stand together as a single, satisying tale.

Wireless shows are free to download and just require a simple registration. Check out The Strange Case of Springheel'd Jack, and take some time to dig into the group's back catalog. If you like what we do, you'll like what they do.

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