Anansi Boys (BBC Radio)

Date Thu, January 11 2018

anansi boysThis will perhaps be less of a review and more of a glowing recommendation for an audio drama that I thoroughly enjoyed last week. Thanks to an announcement on The Mary Sue, I discovered that the BBC had released six episodes of Anansi Boys for free to the public.

The BBC is actually responsible for most of the audio dramas I’ve enjoyed over the past year or so, and that encouraged me to branch out and find some more. So I was quick to listen to Anansi Boys, a drama based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. Now, I have read the book, but it’s been over a decade. I don’t have much of a recollection of “Fat” Charlie Nancy or Spider or anything that happens between them. I am left with more of a general feeling.

This was a great headspace to be in to enjoy Anansi Boys as an audio drama; although, I don’t think you’ll enjoy it any less if you are more familiar with the story or even if you’ve never heard of it. In that case, however, I would recommend that you enjoy urban fantasy and strange fiction. Of course, Gaiman is known for the latter.

Dirk Maggs and the BCC took the source and turned it into an incredibly engaging audio drama. The lead character, Charlie, is played by┬áJacob Anderson (perhaps better known as Grey Worm from Game of Thrones) who has never before acted in an audio drama, but you wouldn’t know it from this role! The audience follows Charlie to his father’s funeral, where he discovers that he has a long-forgotten brother, Spider, and that their father was a trickster god.

Spider ushers forth a wave of chaos into Charlie’s otherwise mundane life and turns it into something else entirely. I suspect that many readers will see themselves in Charlie but desire to be more of a Spider.

It becomes clear that this influence is due to causes more supernatural than natural, and the audio version of this story does an excellent job at painting pictures for the listener.

The inclusion of an original song by Jacob Anderson at the end of the tale is welcome. It’s more than just whimsical or enjoyable. It’s

The supporting cast also performs well, and I found all the sound effects and music to be superbly chosen and edited to near perfection. Sometimes good voice acting falls flat because it’s surrounded by amateur sounds. This was not the case with Anansi Boys.

The entire story is just 6 episodes long, most of which are only 30 minutes. It’s easy enough to knock out during your commute or daily workouts.

You can listen to these episodes for free for a limited time on the BBC website. There doesn’t seem to be an option to download, so you’ll need to enjoy it in whichever browser you prefer.

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