Release Date: March 16, 2013 – March 22, 2013 (Original Broadcast)
Cast: James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Director: Dirk Maggs, Heather Larmour
Distributor: BBC Radio 4
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Based On Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere
I had heard about Neverwhere sometime earlier this year, but after hearing about it once it pretty much disappeared from my radar. Unfortunately I did not review the first broadcast in March, but this Christmas season BBC Radio 4 has decided to rebroadcast the story, starting on Christmas going through six days.
Written by Neil Gaiman, you can pretty much expect a whole lot of fun and the whole production has got his fingerprints all over it. What is great about Neverwhere is the fantastic cast. Not only are James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer perfect voice casts for Richard Mayhew and Lady Door, but the supporting cast of David Harewood as Marquis de Carabas, the fantastic Sophie Okonedo as Hunter, Anthony Head and David Schofield as Croup and Vandemar, Bernard Cribbins as Old Bailey, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the enigmatic Angel Islington are all perfect choices for their roles.
There are some great cameos from other heavy hitters like Christopher Lee, Andrew Sachs, George Harris, and Romola Garai, which only sweetens the pot. I am very very picky with my radio plays or audiobooks, but man, a good one sticks with you. A good story set to great voices makes the play a success.
Neverwhere is a very short tale, starting with one hour long episode with subsequent half hour episodes totaling three and a half hours. It’s a fairly simple story set in a mysterious yet often-whimsical hidden world of London Below. The casts’ descriptions will put you right in the heart of this world inhabited by pseudo-historical figures, ratspeakers, homeless people, and victims who have slipped through the London Underground gaps.
If you haven’t heard this tale yet, go check it out on their official site and listen to the broadcast through their website. Hurry up though, there’s only four days left to listen to the very first episode! Don’t miss this wonderful treat from Neil Gaiman dramatised by Dirk Maggs.
Final Thoughts: Gaiman blends humor with drama perfectly, and it almost makes me want a live-action miniseries of this wonderful performance (we wouldn’t even have to recast)!