Review of The Mighty Carlins by Collin Doyle

SFFaudio Review

The Mighty CarlinsThe Mighty Carlins
By Collin Doyle; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 87 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Producer: The Wireless Theatre Company
Released: June 12, 2013
Themes: / Family / Humour / Black Comedy /

On the anniversary of his wife’s death, Leo Carlin and his two sons come together for their traditional night of sharing the good and not so good memories of the dearly departed Mrs Carlin. Beers are drunk. Plans are hatched. Secrets are revealed. The Mighty Carlins is a black comedy that celebrates a family at its worst.

Before I start talking about alcohol soaked childhoods, failed ambitions, stuck lives and dead-end plans, I want to clarify, The Mighty Carlins is an entertaining, compelling, audio drama replete with fun, twists and surprises.

On the anniversary of their mother’s death, two brothers, Mike and Davie get together with their father Leo, to share memories about their mother. It’s obvious from the conversation between Leo and Mike while they wait for Davie that this is not, nor has it ever been, a happy little family. The parents’ main objective through their lives together seemed to revolve around having enough liquor to make it through another night. Mike has a failed marriage and a couple of crashed business plans behind him and not much ahead. Self absorbed, inattentive Leo is more interested in humiliating his sons than engaging in anything meaningful. Most broken of all is the younger brother Davie, who despite a lifetime of proof against it, still believes he can find something worthwhile in these two. The three shards of broken glass that was once a family have this annual ritual for the benefit of Davie who’s desperate to find at least one happy memory he can hold onto against the bleak reality of his past and the looming future that holds no discernible difference. Gathered together to share memories about their mother, none of those remembrances enter the picture until the final quarter of the play. Until then the stories they tell are a mishmash of conspiracies, lies and betrayals with a few truths thrown in to mix it up a little.

To me, the play felt a lot like Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? where words are like scalpels and sentences are designed to inflict just enough damage to illicit pain, but not quite enough to stop the flow of conversation. Dialogue throughout glues the family combatants together while simultaneously shredding them apart.

Rather than follow a straightforward moving line, threads of story meander out of the narrative, swirl around, duck under, over, other threads, sometimes tying up loose ends, but more often leading to more questions instead of answers. Is this a mystery we’re listening to? Is there going to be a big reveal at the end? Is there anything holding this family together besides pain and lies? Each thread, each tangent tugs us through the labyrinth of these lives.

Despite wrecked childhoods, going nowhere lives and empty big plans for the future, The Mighty Carlins is not in any way depressing. It’s intriguing and captivating and at times laugh aloud funny. It features biting dialogue, well drawn, sympathetic (in the cases of the sons) characters who really shouldn’t be very likable at first glance, but ultimately are, failures et al.

Collin Doyle’s writing is strong and the whole piece is well crafted. It’s uniformly well performed, thoroughly enjoyable and engaging from start to finish.

From The Wireless Theatre Company website:

We believe that bringing a theatre company of this nature to the internet is a positive cultural contribution as the nature of audio plays is particularly suited to performance and publications of work by a large cross section of the community; we encourage and support any contributors, and will always strive to provide a forum for new talent. Our website is found purely through search engines and word of mouth – so if you like what you hear – PLEASE tell your friends!

I wholeheartedly agree. Check out The Wireless Theatre Company. Tell your friends.

Shane Rimmer
Christopher Ragland
Christian Malcolm

Music by Michael Seal

Directed by Paul Blinkhorn

Produced by Jack Bowman and Robert Valentine

Edited by Paul Darling

Engineered by Carlos Ziccarelli at Unity Studios, London.

Posted by Maissa Bessada

Wireless Theatre Company + Moonlight Audio Theatre: Burke And Hare

SFFaudio Online Audio

Up the close and doun the stair,
But and ben wi’ Burke and Hare.
Burke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief,
Knox the boy that buys the beef.
—19th-century Edinburgh skipping rhyme

Burke And Hare

There may never have been a blacker comedy than this horrifying (and horrifyingly funny) audio drama about a pair of real life murderers. William Burke and William Hare apparently killed sixteen people in the early 19th century selling the corpses to an anatomist named Dr. Robert Knox.

This audio drama, which I found in the Moonlight Audio Theatre podcast feed, is well written, smartly acted, and full of ripe innuendo. Burke And Hare is clever and creepy. If you’ve seen the 1999 horror/comedy film Ravenous, also based on a true story, you know how disturbing this kind of mix can be.

Moonlight Audio TheatreBurke And Hare
By Terence Newman; Performed by a full cast
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 77 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Moonlight Audio Theatre
Podcast: June 2013
This is the story of the infamous 19th Century Scottish Grave-robbers who weren’t Scottish and didn’t rob graves. They were actually Irish and as robbing graves to supply the needs of Edinburgh’s anatomists proved to be rather hard work, they just took to murdering people – usually their neighbours – for profit. In collaboration with their common-law wives they set about supplying corpses for Dr John Knox an eminent Scottish surgeon with considerable enthusiasm and gusto. The play follows their business exploits from small beginnings, through their days of peak output to the final reckoning – set against a world that is becoming recognisably modern.

Part 1 |MP3|
Part 2 |MP3|

Podcast feed:

Rob Crouch
Jonathan Clarkson
Genevieve Swallow
Holly McLay
Clive Greenwood
Neil McCormack
Adam Hall

Edited by: Joe Siddons
Directed by: Robert Valentine
Music by: Adam Bernstein

Posted by Jesse Willis

Mark Time (and Ogle) Award Winners for 2011

SFFaudio News

The Mark Time AwardJerry Stearns, the coordinator for the The Mark Time Awards and Ogle Awards, writes in with this list of the winners for 2011:

The Mark Time Awards are given each year for the Best Science Fiction Audio Theater production, and the Ogle Awards are given for the Best Fantasy or Horror Audio Theater production. These are the 15th Annual Awards, for the 2011 Production Year.

Mark Time Awards

Brad Lansky and the 4D-Verse
Written by J. D. Venne
Producer, Dieter Zimmermann

My Other Self
Stagestruck Audio Theatre
Written & Produced by Bret Jones


Our Fair City, Season 2
HartLife NFP
Written by Clayton Faits & others


The Martian Chronicles
Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air
Story by Ray Bradbury
Dramatized by Jerry Robbins
Producer, Seth Adam Sher

Logan’s Run – Last Day
Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air
Written by Jason Brock, William F. Nolan & Paul Salamoff
Producer, Seth Adam Sher

Ogle Awards

Intensive Care
Final Rune & AuralStage Productions
Written by James Comtois
Producers, Fred Greenhalgh, Matthew Boudreau, Samantha Mason


Ghost of a Chance
19 Nocturne Boulevard
Written & produced by Julie Hoverson

The Strange Case of Springheel’d Jack
Wireless Theatre Company
Written by Gareth Parker, Robert Valentine
Producers, Robert Valentine, Gareth Parker, Mariele Runacre-Temple


The 15th Mark Time Awards will be presented July 5, 2012 at CONvergence, in Bloomington, MN. Representatives from four of the seven production organizations will be present to accept their awards, as will several past winners and four of the five judges.

Mark Time is a character created in 1970 by the Firesign Theatre. Phil Proctor and David Ossman of Firesign will also be attending CONvergence to help celebrate the occasion, along with their wives, Melinda Peterson and Judith Walcutt. Judith is a convention Guest of Honor, too. And they’ll all be participating in events throughout the convention, including the Mark Time Radio Show, just before the Opening Ceremonies.

We encourage you to look up the winners and give them a listen. You’ll find some excellent storytelling.

For more information about CONvergence:
For more about the Mark Time Awards:

Posted by Jesse Willis