‘The Mahogany Murders’
Written by Andy Lane, directed by Lisa Bowerman
Companion Chronicles Story 3.11
Released May 2009
“Professor Litefoot, have you ever trod the boards?… Then please leave the acting to the professionals.”
There are strange goings on in Victorian London. Travelers from the other realms plot secretly using arcane technology, creatures lurk in the darkness and villains lure the innocent into demonic traps. Standing against these terrifying threats is the unlikely duo Jago and Litefoot. Based on the characters Theatrical Impresario Henry Gordon Jago and Pathology Professor George Litefoot from the classic TV adventure, the Mahogany Murders is renowned for starting a fan favorite audio spinoff running into its fifth season!
The first Jago & Litefoot adventure (aside from the Andy Lane-penned story in 1991) is a real corker and, like Talons of Weng Chiang, uses the Victorian setting to the utmost. The story is told in flashback sequences shared by Jago and Litefoot over a few pints at the Red Lion. Their barmaid (voiced by Lisa Bowerman) interjects here and there but mainly the entire tale is unfolded descriptive dialog which is where Lane’s writing joins the acting talents of Benjamin and Baxter, causing the adventure to soar.
Coming out of retirement to reprise their distinctive roles, Benjamin and Baxter take off as if nary a day had passed since they last collaborated on TV. Not only is their chemistry still present, but the two chaps are so full of energy that its catching. Hearing the alliteration of Jago and the weary tone of Litefoot makes for a delightful experience. Robert Holmes, a writer regarded among fans for his double acts of distinctive characters outdid himself with these two and Lane thankfully pays homage to the great Holmes in his script.
The mystery begins when a body dragged up from the Thames proves to be made of wood, glass and leather rather than flesh and bone. Between the two of them, Jago and Litefoot uncover a plot involves an unruly gang of mannequins ruled over by the mysterious Dr. Tulp. There are so many incredibly distinctive and descriptive moments such as the texture of the simulacra, all brought to life by a remarkable combination of script and the vocal performances. A light touch is added when Litefoot attempts to add a bit of flair to his storytelling by speaking in an accent and he is cut short by Jago, who politely requests that he stick to his day job.
I was overjoyed to see teenage fans of the new series giving the Jago and Litefoot stories props. It’s nice to know that this material is reaching a wide range of listeners and not just crusty fans of the classics like myself.
A truly amazing work, ‘The Mahogany Murders’ can be ordered from The Book Depository with free shipping worldwide by clicking on the link below: