Anne Manx and the Empress Blair Project
Starring Claudia Christian, Ellen Muth, and Robin Atkin Downes
2 CDs – 2 Hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: RRCA (Radio Repertory Company of America)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Humor / Private Eye / Government / War /
Before she meets the Empress Blair, Anne Manx (Claudia Christian) wants nothing more than to spend her quiet vacation getting a tan. Empress Blair (Ellen Muth), though, has a compelling problem. Her father has been killed, and she fears she’s next. If Anne Manx can keep the Empress alive for a mere two months, she’ll reach her eighteenth birthday and take over for her father. Complicating things is Mr. Logan (Robin Atkin Downes), who shows up just in time – but whose side is he on? Nothing is ever easy for Anne Manx, and she’s rapidly running out of lives.
This is the fifth installment of the Anne Manx audio drama series from Angelo Panetta and the good folks over at The Radio Repertory Company of America. Anne Manx is a superhero of sorts in this series, which can best be described as a comic book for audio. What’s special about Anne Manx? She doesn’t stay dead, but the number of her lives are limited. She’s got a job that requires those lives, too – she’s a planet-hopping private eye, and each episode presents new problems. In Anne Manx and the Empress Blair Project we find her on vacation at the Caraboo Islands, but the Empress Blair (of the planet Eranix), who’s sure she is a target for murder, interrupts Anne’s holiday. It takes a little convincing, but Manx agrees to help, and we’re caught up in another entertaining episode.
There are several things that set these RRCA productions apart from others. The quality of the actors is the most obvious. In this episode: Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me), and Robin Atkin Downes, who is is a superior and popular voice actor that we’ve also seen on a B5 episode or two. I’ve enjoyed Claudia Christian as Anne Manx since the first episode (Anne Manx in Lives of the Cat). She’s tough, sexy, and I can’t imagine another actress in this role. Her co-stars in this one make the production an all-around joy to hear.
Another thing that I’ve mentioned in previous reviews is the script. This is a smart script that, though it doesn’t miss too many chances for sexual innuendo, is really funny at just the right places. Kudos to Larry Weiner for another job well done.
And lastly, the quality of the sound. Effects, music, and words combine in a way that I never wonder what the setting is, never wonder who is speaking, and I never lose the story. It’s easy to become completely immersed as a listener. My mind fills in the pictures, and I thoroughly enjoy listening.
So much so that I may just go find the first one and start over… back soon.
Posted by Scott D. Danielson
5 thoughts to “Review of Anne Manx and the Empress Blair Project”
Ah-hah. I had forgotten that this was released. I’m more of a Ruby fan, but I’ve enjoyed this series too. Thanks for the reminder that I need to check this out.
Ah yes! Ruby! http://www.zbs.org – looks like they are up to Ruby 7.5. I still have my CD version of the first Ruby. I can recall the first time I ever heard Ruby – it was on a cassette I checked out from the library when I was a teenager. I had two reactions: first, a “what the heck is this?”, and then a “wow – this is really amazing!”
These Manx productions also have high quality sound, like I mentioned in the review. You can get the Anne Manx shows through ZBS.org as well, though they aren’t made by the same folks.
Hey, Anne Manx is wielding Han Solo’s blaster in the cover painting.
I was disappointed that RRCA’s Red Cloud (I think that was the title) with Traci Lords wasn’t better. I don’t think I made it all the way through the show. Has anyone listened to their other works?
Re Ruby: Ruby 1 was the first zbs production I ever listened to. It was only a few years back, so I’m a total newcomer. Still, it had such an effect on me that I now relate to several nearby landmarks by recalling what part of the story I was listening to when I passed them in my car.
Red Clould has gotten mix reaction. Some have really enjoyed it, and other not so much. You should give Anne Manx a try.