One of the great things about being an Odyssey fan is that you're not alone. There are others out there, and they're busying themselves with Odyssey-related projects. Some will become great interviewers, some will become great writers, and some will create great audio dramas. And they all have been inspired in one way or another by the wonderful series, Adventures in Odyssey.
About a month ago, Austin Peachey asked me to review an upcoming audio drama that he and his sister Natasha made. I was, of course, honoured, and he allowed me to listen to the episode early.
"Sibling Spies" is about teenage spies Andy and Christy Fox on an adventure to infiltrate a secret layer and take down the dreaded Dr. Killjoy. For an amateur production, the story is well-told and there are several entertaining moments. Overall, this is a nice temporary fix for younger audiences anticipating the action, the intrigue, and the Phil Lollar in the next instalment of "The Labyrinth".
The best scene in "Sibling Spies" is when they encounter Dr. KillJoy, played by Frank Montenegro. Frank gives perhaps the strongest performance out of the bunch; however, having the better sounding microphone may have helped him. The dialogue he was given mixed with the background piano music created a nice, touching moment at the end of the episode; and though the scene probably wasn't meant to be humorous, it was funny that this "dreaded" villain began narrating the story of his childhood. There was also a nice touching, brother-sister moment early on in the episode that I quite enjoyed. I wonder if Austin and Natasha really talk to each other in real life like this...
You definitely see the influence of Adventures in Odyssey on "Sibling Spies". I can't help think back to "The Last Great Adventure of the Summer" with the mention of the name Maxim, and "Unto Us a Child is Born" with the same "Oh When the Saints Go marching in" gag. I also liked that they they wrapped things up with a moral bow-tie, in Odyssey fashion. Of course, the biggest and most pleasant surprise was hearing Phil Lollar in the episode. I've always enjoyed Phil Lollar's voice and it was great that Austin and Natasha asked him to do this and, especially, that he agreed to do it.
Criticisms? Here are a few. I would have liked to have heard a more consistent musical score. Instead of using music from Adventures in Odyssey episodes and other places, I would have preferred if the music throughout was consistent with the tracks used during Montenegro's introduction and conclusion . The sound effects, too, seemed a little inconsistent. Some sounds were too strong--especially the sound of the wind and the wolves as Austin and Natasha left the helicopter; and the sound of them walking did not sound like footsteps to me. I know, it's tough. The truth is that not every sound effect found online or in a library is necessarily of good quality.
That said, I'm always impressed when people decide to take the initiative and not only make creations like podcasts but full-fledged Adventures in Odyssey-like episodes. It's a daunting task. You have to find the time, and the right actors, and persuade those actors that giving their time to a project is a good idea. I've had a script for an audio drama laying on my desk for about half a year now, but don't have the talent to pull it off. That first step is always the hardest part.
Now that Austin and Natasha have taken their first steps, with some more practice--though definitely with the same enthusiasm and imagination--their next work should be even better. "Sibling Spies" is a fine piece of work, and there's certainly some charm to this brother-sister adventure. However, don't let me tell you what to think; you can judge for yourself here: http://aio-blog.blogspot.com/2012/01/aio-blogcast-29-sibling-spies.html.
Have you heard AIO Blog's Sibling Spies? If so, what did you think? Tell me in the comments below, or visit aio-blog.blogspot.com and tell them.