The Strange Case of Spring Heel’d Jack, Part 1, The Ghost of Clapham Common, was very enjoyable to listen to, and I very much intend to listen to the other parts of the trilogy. This is a very popular genre on audio at the moment (see my previous reviews), though to be fair, sci fi/horror/weird fiction has always had a place on radio, for many reasons but chiefly the way it can appeal to the imagination directly rather than relying on effects that can sometimes let the story down.
Aside from a rather confusing prologue, the story gets off to a rollicking start. Its hero, “Peeler” Jonah Smith (Christopher Finney), reminded me rather of Johnny Depp in such roles as Crane in Sleepy Hollow and Inspector Abberline in From Hell. This should be taken as a compliment. The mysterious and atmospheric production has early 19th century Bow Street runner Smith and his colleague investigating curious happenings in Clapham, which is all bound up somehow with young heiress Charlotte Fitzrandolph and the Dickensian dastardly duo of Chough (Jack Bowman) and his rather monosyllabic, Hyde-like associate Durberville. Anyone even vaguely familiar with pre-vampiric, pre-Ripper Spring Heel’d Jack will be unsurprised when cloven hoofprints are found around the graves in Clapham.
This play is quite well-written by Gareth Parker and Robert Valentine and very well-made by the Wireless Theatre Company. The moody music and lovingly attentive SFX make it a cut above the rest.