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Avengers on the Radio designed, maintained and Copyright by Alan and Alys Hayes.

The Avengers is Copyright CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd. No attempt to infringe this copyright is intended. 

REVIEW "THE JOKER"

The conspiratorial nature of the narration is what originally draws one into this Avengers play. The voice sidles and wheedles its way into the story, the numerous whispered asides and descriptions (the visceral, brutish 'hairy hands' of the psychopath busily cutting and tearing Emma's photo, gives a resonance to the image in the mind). 

Ola's grasshopper flights of association are more pronounced in the audio version, and this Emma Peel is not as businesslike as her television counterpart, slightly lighter, more of a flibbertigibbet, more jolly golly gosh hockey-sticks than dry raconteur. You can hardly imagine this Emma administering a shrewd kick where it would do most good - though, in the context of the play, this only serves to make her more vulnerable, less able to cope with the impending danger.

The little asides of the narrator continue to build up the suspense, and there are good moments, picked up, as in Ola's slip about the house's owner always locking the wine cellar when he's going to be away for any length of time... The narrator's asides also break up the flow of the action, allowing the audience to recap and take stock, adding to the atmosphere in a visual sense 'the figure in the bushes'.

The musical cue in the story is a more subtle one than the television version's Mein Leibling, Mein Rose. The music is not overstated in the audio play though, and do not detract from the occasional dialogue gems: I loved Emma's dawning dismay about the inadvisability of lending her car to a nutter like Ola...

Though under-used in this story for obvious reasons, Donald Monat provides an excellent, phlegmatic Steed of the old school, maybe a touch less light and deadly than Macnee's, but an interesting variation nonetheless.

Very enjoyable overall!

Reviewed by David Tulley