Lightning Bolt Theater of the Mind, is no longer even a contender.
When I heard this gem coming up on the Sonic Society's stealthily marketed 250th Episode, I admit to being more than a little reticent. Even after the Review on Radio Drama Revival by the mysterious Captain Radio, I wasn't sure what I was in for.
What I discovered was a fantastic tale in The Swamp! This feature is 44 minutes (just the right length in my opinion for an "hour long" episode) and displays a mature Director's hand. Tanja Milojevic has almost instantly with this one feature moved from being talented actress to a triple threat that would make any production earn a gold star for working with her. Ms. Milojevic's instincts in horror and the youth come together in this well crafted tale. The writing moves the plot at a perfect pace and provides just enough characters to tell the story without losing the audience. Ms. Milojevic's use of theme and mythic allusion is startlingly rich and the ending resounds leaving the listener impacted and thoughtful well beyond the credits.
Ms. Milojevic's acting is perhaps the most natural in modern audio amateur acting today. Her scream is terrifyingly real. Her voice is magnetic (She could read the phone book and entrance you) and her instincts to move through differing emotions are effortless. Ms. Milojevic doesn't perform the role of Rachel- she inhabits the character. A real treat!
The rest of the cast are equally good and varied. Richard plays a believable young attractive man and the demon switching emotional cues smoothly. Cary Ayers is a perfect choice for both the detective and Rachel's uncle and provides a counterpoint of maturity in the cast of voices but everyone comes across at just the right tempo to bring this horror to a boil.
The production is measured and even as well, and the music comes across as an inspired choice of mostly ambient tunes to provide deeply moody contrasts.
I went to the Lightning Bolt website and found it vastly improved and revamped. So much so that I didn't recognize it from it's earlier incarnations.
The transformation of Lightning Bolt Theater of the Mind is breathtaking. If this episode is any example of their new sound, move over everyone LBT is quickly rising to the heights of best new modern audio company out there.
My personal congratulations to Ms. Tanja Milojevic and all who are involved. This Most Improved Award belongs to you!