Aw yeah! It’s the return of Theatre Thursday and against all odds, with the state of the world, I have a professional theatre thing to write about. Introducing Vertigo Theatre’s “The Voice on the Wire“.
(Note: I am following absolutely no style guide rules when it comes to my italicization. Or my citations, really. Look, I get APA’ed out at school, don’t come for me, readability rules!)
Wait, I thought you said this was Vertigo Theatre? That says Vertigo Mystery Radio!
Ah, I see. I tell you not to come for me about my lack of APA and you pick something else. However, it is a great question.
Long time readers will know that I am a huge fan of Vertigo Theatre. (You can check out my reviews of Wait Until Dark here or Sherlock Holmes and the Jersey Lily here.) I’ve been a subscription holder for over a decade and hold what I would argue are the best seats in the theatre on opening nights. It’s a safe assumption that I would be all over whatever Vertigo does at any time, so of course I am here for what they are doing to keep art alive during these unprecedented times.
Vertigo Mystery Radio is that thing that they are doing. Little bite-sized radio dramas that you can download like a podcast! It is in collaboration with 6 Degrees, a Calgary-based sound house. (Also, how have I never heard the term sound house before? That’s awesome!) The Voice On The Wire is their first offering, starring four familiar voices, but recently the team has been teasing that there may be more episodes dropping soon.
Did you enjoy The Voice On The Wire?
I did! I listened to it with my mom on a Wednesday evening as the sun was setting. We poured a glass of wine, turned all the lights out and let the darkness fall around us as we listened to the 30 minute thriller. The perfect ambiance… and we got to sit on comfy couches, wearing comfy clothes while listening!
Christopher Hunt, as Dr. Priesing, is admittedly the standout performance. I may be biased because Chris taught me during university and I think he is wonderful and kind – but his “radio drama” voice is just absolute perfection. That sort of trans-Atlantic vibe that I associate with classic mysteries is alive and well in Chris’ voice. I also genuinely was unsure about his character’s intentions throughout the piece, which is exactly what you want during a four-hander where anyone can be the bad guy.
The transition from stage to voice actor is tougher than it appears. Many of the skills are the same, some are slightly different and when it is done well, it is so impressive.
Equally impressive is the quality of the sound effects through the drama. Specifically, there is a dog bark and a door sound that had me honestly looking around my house to see where that sound had come from. Without the stimulation of the visuals that a play would have, radio dramas and podcasts rely on the ambiance that music/sound effects add – and these sound effects really do add! My one note would be that there is a modulated voice – the titular Voice on the Wire – that I found hard to understand at first. That said, these segments are short and it may just be my ears that need to catch up!
Final Thoughts (And How To Purchase!)
For a first audio offering, The Voice On The Wire is extremely strong and my small critiques should not put you off. If you enjoy podcasts or classic mysteries, you will love this radio drama. The Voice On The Wire costs only $9.99 and you can purchase it here. The best part is, once you have it downloaded, you can listen to it again and again! (Or is the best part the fact that you can download it from any where in the world and enjoy some world class mystery theatre? … Maybe there are two best parts.)
(Note: I hope you are all impressed that I have restrained myself from ranting about supporting arts institutions right now… we’ll cross that bridge in a later Theatre Thursday. Maybe.)