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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent theoretical and practical reader on audio drama, 13 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Radio Drama (Paperback)
If you really enjoy listening to radio drama and study it or practice it in any context then this is a wonderful text for you. Crook does, as far as I know, the latest critique on radio drama and switches the genre into 'audio-drama' to extend its historical line before the first radio plays and post radio in terms of the Internet.
He pulls together existing literature and theoretical writing on the subject to formulate a critical vocabulary which is useful for scholars and practitioners.
He is passionate and rather opinionated in those passages which seek to inspire practical expression and reserved when dealing with an academic enquiry into the place of audio drama in media history, and a critical assessment of a modern play such as Lee Hall's Spoonface Steinberg.
I think it is excellent he has selected this play for analysis because it had a popular reaction from the largest audience available in the UK and perhaps in the world for radio drama.
In terms of aesthetics and theatre craft he properly praises it to the hilt. I was uncomfortable with his 'Cultural Studies' analysis. I think he was too harsh by adopting the Roland Barthes structuralist and Professor Stuart Hall approach on representation. In some way that kind of critical analysis is too narrow.
He accepts that the author and producers' intentions were sincere and I think there are other critical structuralists who give more room for authorial purpose.
If you write radio drama then his section on the theory and practice of writing is priceless.
If you direct, you will find, I think, his section on radio drama direction fascinating and if you make creative features or do anything creative with radio then the section on 'the feature' opens up ideas and practical advice which you just cannot find anywhere in existing literature.
He also references radio drama produced in USA, Australia and Canada and so widens the field.
I think this book is a fantastic accompaniment to Drakakis's British Radio Drama which though published nearly 20 years ago provides a stalwart critical evaluation of the cultural value of the radio drama text.
To use a fashionable word Crook's book has intertextuality value. In order words you can find notions and points which reference other media such as film studies, television studies, and audience studies.
He has also planted some pretty powerful roots for developing research. What begins as a pretty mundane review of radio hoaxes extends into a whole new field about improvisational artists intervening and mischeviously performing in ritually defined broadcasting formats as fictional story tellers. He calls these 'radio bards'. These are seeds which merit much further intellectual analysis and development.
Very good bibliography at the back opens up doors for further reading. He also rightly pays tribute to Drakakis for his brilliant bibliography on radio drama publication up until 81.
As a conclusion I hope that this text bridging with Drakakis, Cambridge University Press 1981 will begin to construct a path for greater critical and cultural discussion and analysis of audio drama well into this century.
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Radio Drama
Radio Drama by Tim Crook (Paperback - 9 Sep 1999)
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