August 2018 brought us a double hit of Class boxsets, launching the show for the audio world following its demise from BBC 3. Although recorded (the interviews make that clear) in an order other than the published, in this review I take a look at Class Volume 1. All three are well constructed, and follow the emerging style of the show and also (to my ears) hit the required mark as Young Adult (the show was pitched at a teen audience, my teen years are decades, behind so what do I know!)
Class Volume 1 stories
The first story is Roy Gill’s Gifted. Roy takes a mythic theme, also seen in the show, and crafts a tale of dark faerie, music and love. Centre stage are Ram (Fady Elsayed) and April (Sophie Hopkins), alongside a villainous Mab (played with real relish by Deirdre Mullins). Ram and April are strong on audio, the characters as immediate as one might hope and the story works its way out neatly in the hour allotted. There’s a smidgeon of inevitability about the plot and resolution, but not so as to distract from the joy of listening to the performances.
Jenny T Colgan steps up with the second story Life Experience. Again we have Ram, this time in rebellious mode, and Tanya (Vivian Oparah). There’s a large cast, plenty of action and a larger than life action and aliens tale. It’s entertaining, though of the three owes least to the TV setting. Both leads are spot-on to their characters and there’s a satisfying ending. What makes this work is taking two teenagers who by dint of their experiences are able to survive a new threat others would be destroyed by. It’s a clever piece of writing.
It’s to producer / director Scott Handcock to gives us Tell Me You Love Me and the focus is all on Coal Hill and centres on Charlie (Greg Austin) and Matteusz (Jordan Renzo). When something sneaks through the rift, they need Miss Quill (Kathryn Kelly) to save the day, but can she do so without shedding blood? It’s a clever piece of writing, very well delivered and Matteusz in particular is very immediate. On audio Kathryn Kelly is even more sinister than on TV and while Charlie is well defined in this story by his love for Matteusz, the character as a whole is the most conflicted of all the leads (for me) and this still comes across ion audio. This is not to say anything against how well all three dealt with a challenging script. This is the darkest of the set by far, perhaps more so even than the TV (which got brutal in places), and Scott’s Torchwood experience resonates well here.
Picky points aside, fans of the TV should find plenty here to identify with and enjoy.