An amusing, light-hearted fantasy romp,
This review is from: Elvenquest (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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ElvenQuest is a Radio 4 comic fantasy drama that will often make you crack a smile, but rarely chuckle out loud. It brands itself as a general fantasy spoof rather than specifically targeting The Lord of the Rings, but given Tolkien is now the root of most modern fantasy tropes, the distinction is minimal. The story follows a writer who is drawn into the battle between good and evil in another world when it turns out his dog is the prophesied "Chosen One" sought by a group of heroes. The evil Lord Darkness naturally wishes to stop them.
The performances are generally good, though Alistair McGowan's sneering, conflicted Lord Darkness was undoubtedly the highlight (and the most interesting character). Unfortunately much of the humour often relies on slightly obvious jokes or falls back on uninventive innuendo. It's surprising from obviously intelligent writers who can produce amusing gems like the torture device "the petard of irony". Ultimately it's the plot rather than the jokes that keeps things moving forward
In many ways it is better to approach it as light-hearted fantasy that never takes itself too seriously. In tone the best parallel would be the comic fantasy books of Tom Holt, right down to the use of an author as a central character. ElvenQuest is a fun romp that will while away a few hours on a journey, but - while you may look out for a sequel - you are unlikely regularly to revisit it.