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Audio Drama Review


2000 AD
Judge Dredd


Starring: Joseph Fiennes

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio


ISBN: 978 1 78108 999 6

Release Date: 04 March 2021

Penguin Random House UK Audio releases Judge Dredd: America. Judge Dredd is the iconic leading character from the renowned British comic 2000 AD. A number of 2000 AD stories have been adapted to kick-off this range, including The Ballad of Halo Jones, Brink: Volumes 1-3, Slaine The Horned God, and Judge Dredd: The Pit. In Judge Dredd: America, there is a struggle for freedom against terrorism and a totalitarian police state. But this is a very human story, and a well-known Dredd tale. These action-packed audio recordings are performed by an ensemble cast, in this case headed by narrator Patterson Joseph (Neverwhere, Timeless) and Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, The Handmaiden’s Tale) as Dredd himself. The original story was by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil. The audio is available for download...

Although this is miles behind the technical and literary prowess of the Dirk Maggs Audio Movies, the Penguin release of Judge Dredd: America is a considerably more interesting story than its sister audio dramatisation The Pit. I pointed out the shortcomings of that one, but America takes quite a different stance. A large chunk of the plot is told as a retrospective backstory, featuring two childhood friends whose lives take a radically different path. This works well in the medium, because the dramatic content is shared equally between narration and acted-out sequences. By the time the story returned to the present and the impending referendum result I found that I cared about a couple of the characters and, more importantly, the outcome.

The difference between the quality of Judge Dredd: The Pit and America is almost certainly down to the strength of the source material. It also helps that thought is given to the strongest way to put this across to a modern listening audience, given the technological shortcomings. It does prove one thing: If your set-up is reasonably low-key there is no reason why you can’t portray a powerful and emotional ‘people’ story, which America certainly is.


Ty Power

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