Piece Comment

Review of Two-Minute Danger Theater 01: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 1

This is a tough piece to review. I respect the producer's innovative approach to the material, yet I don't think this works well as a contemporary radio piece.

PACING: The frantic pacing of these pieces make them difficult to follow. As an experiment I tried listening to the pieces while working in my office. I found that the pace was so fast that, unless I was doing nothing else, I couldn't pick up anything. For a listener trying to follow along while they are driving, working, doing the dishes, etc..., it just requires too much attention.

HUMOR: If you are going to do comedy, you have to deliver. While there were some clever bits of writing in these modules, there are some thin spots as well.

SOUND EFFECTS: Use of canned sound effects is dangerous, because producers are often tempted to use them as a full character in their piece (like here) rather than as a texture (like Tom Keith on PHC). The mastery of Tom Keith is he knows when to demand attention for the sounds he creates and when to let them fit in with other elements. It's a lesson that could be well-applied to these pieces. Sometimes the canned effects work, other times they are just gratuitous.

This producer is offering his material via a web site, which is a perfect distribution mechanism for this type of work. It allows those interested in this type of piece a place to go and listen, at their convenience, and enjoy them. I just don't think these have a broad enough appeal to work on radio.