REVIEW: Audio comedy series – The Barren Author

Brian Butler November 11, 2020

It’s a glib comment that radio is a visual medium , but Spiteful Puppet’s latest audio series, starring  Rocky Horror creator Richard O’Brien is a marvellously vivid adventure in your mind’s eye.

Writer Paul Birch has taken the mad 18th century fantasist Baron Munchausen and brought him up to date , recounting his manuscript memoirs over Zoom to his long-suffering publisher Smith, played by ex Doctor Who star Sophie Aldred.

The great thing about this wonderful six-part audio series is that with voice and sound effects producer/director Barney Eaton- Jones can conjure up via our imagination anywhere in the world from the South Pole to Canada, via Belarus and East Berlin – from the ice-caps to a ship, the roof of Norte Dame cathedral , an underwater hell, an Elton John concert and the National Portrait Gallery.

The plot is ridiculous , full stop. But what O’Brien as our hero , the Brigadier manages to pull off with his plummy, dramatic and crazy range  of character voices is a joyous 3 hours of escapism – and who doesn’t need that right now in lockdown 2?

So we get a bewildering torrent of anecdotes, which the hapless Smith tries to make sense of. It’s clear along the way that we are listening to a brilliant maniac , and as he carries us along with his tidal wave of recollections, inventions and half-truths, we are just fascinated.

Prepare for the Turin shroud Worn as a toga , the theft of a Picasso, a rampaging  bison, wolves, jellyfish, antibiotics that will save the world, Neo-Fascist 4th Reich supporters , and even the re-creation of life from death.

It’s a broad canvas and yet like a Monty Python episode on speed, we go along with the premise. Richard O’Brien is simply  outstanding and Barney is promising a sequel series if this one sells – go out and buy it, if only to keep me happy.

Purchase details are at