Monday, July 16, 2012

AUDIO DRAMA REVIEW: Rendezvous With Rama (BBC)

(Originally posted at OTHERREALMS AUDIO)

First broadcast in 2009 and presented in two parts, Rendezvous With Rama is a wonderful adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke novel.

Let me say this first: I haven't read the book yet. Yeah,yeah, I know. This is unheard of and you can all flame me now.

But I do know the general premise of the story.

Mike Walker's dramatization opens as a documentary of the events that led to Rama's appearance in our solar system, then shifts to Captain Norton recalling what happened--his version of what happened--during the expedition to Rama.

This is the usual top-of-the-line BBC production with excellent sound design, great acting, and a moody and sometimes haunting score.

Richard Dillane portrays Captain William Norton, captain of the Endeavour, as a salty, grizzled sea dog (or at least that's how I heard it). Authoritative, demanding (in a good way), and knows when to follow the spirit of the law. At times, I heard a bit of Hugh Bonneville in Dillane's performance.

I found that Paul Courtenay Hyu as Li Kwok, our documentary narrator, seemed a little stiff in the beginning. But when we finally get to him talking with Norton, Hyu opens up a little more and we hear a little more life in the character.

The rest of the cast did an exemplary job although, like Hyu, sounded a bit stiff at first. As if either slowly finding their groove or warming up to their characters. But they got up to speed in short order.

One thing I didn't care for was the opening theme. I felt it seemed more suited to a ghost story or period piece than to a science fiction tale.

Of course, that could just be me.

Overall, an excellent production.

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