“Robo Sexuals- also known as pluggers, hoover bandits and socket jockeysT

It’s been a long two months since the last 2000ad audio drama, and, although I didn’t have too much interest in this new disc, I have been looking forward to it none the less. After the last audio, Get Karter, hit home with its bleak and violent tone, I Love Judge Dredd is very much a light hearted affair, with comedy perfect for Dredd’s world- black as the night sky.

The basic premise is this: Chief Judge Hershey, Dredd’s boss, decides it will be good pr to let tv host Tark Pastry and camera man Garth follow ol’ stony face around the big meg for two days. What follows is a series of incidents that get funnier and funnier. Brucie Squire’s and the Robo Sexuals (as described above) are two of the funniest things to come out of this series so far. Both are brilliant, and the satire of both incidents just screams for attention. What writer Jonathan Morris has created here is a script more openly comedic in execution than any other 2000ad audio yet released.

The characters in this are hilarious. Tark Pastry is an absolutely awful presenter- this man is a cross between the skill to make anything unfunny that only countdown’s Richard Whitely possesses, and the social prowess of Allan Partridge. His constant quips are so terrible you have to laugh- “Welcome to the end of our show, or, dessert.” Pastry is played by BF stalwart Nick Briggs, who shows why these audio’s are so good-because they are guided by a man as versatile as this.

Director Jonathan Clements is on hand with a brilliant cast, who really gel and augment the comedy on show here. However, there is a problem. The story is good yes, but it is little more than a series of vaguely interlinked events framed by a loose narrative. There is no real plot to this, yes what goes on in this disc is very cleverly shown to be linked together at the end; the final denouement is excellent, and perfectly in the style set out in the comic book. But there seems to be something missing, and the lack of shape may not serve this outing too well on repeat listenings.

But having said that, the lack of form does make for a play where your not totally sure what’s going to happen next, and it does allow the writer to do things that otherwise would not be possible on a more structured audio. For example, the humour is quite adult. The continual references to robo sexuals (yes it is people who have sex with droids) suicide (death day; literally people killing themselves because its popular) terrorists (the Karma Vigilantes are so damn funny, but they are killers) and pop culture (rock group the Grim Utter Death eat people according to myth) are all very funny but all very grown up. Earlier audio’s would have been ok for the younger fan to listen to, but this is definitely not one for the sprogs.

The thing that hit me listening to this cd was how Dredd can make situations that in real life are harrowing and shocking (mass murder, suicide) gut wrenchingly funny. The way each subject is handled is brilliant, and each actor plays their part with ease. Toby Longworths Dredd did get a bit grating for the first few moments before I settled back into the world of Mega City one. And now the final question must come- is this worth buying?

After listening to one of BF’s Doctor Who audio’s I thought that the 2000ad line, although good, didn’t hold a candle to the timelord. Well I was wrong. Both ranges are so different, so concerned with completely varied issues that you can’t compare the two. All I can say is this- both are worth the money you pay.

ANY GOOD?: Big Finish start off 2003 with a different kind of Dredd tale. The script lacks form, but the humour is excellently black. The director marshals his cast with skill, while each individual actor earns their pay. Too different to Doctor Who to compare, the 2000ad range continues to keep the quality up, while advancing the feel of Dredd’s world. Overall very good, and lets face it, what self respecting Dredd fan wont laugh at this?




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