Torchwood: “Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4” Review

The Torchwood monthly range returns after a month’s absence with Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4 (what a title!), written by Tim Foley and starring none other than Sir Michael Palin of Monty Python fame.

One of the things I love about the audio medium is how it can stretch the limits of storytelling, and this story does just that. Starting off as a relaxing self-help tape narrated by Palin (hence the title), it soon develops into something far more fascinating, which I won’t spoil here. All I’ll say is that Foley’s script really gets the listener involved in what’s going on, which makes for a really interesting listen.

Michael Palin is the only actor in this story, and I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that he does a fantastic job. From scenes of levity and comedy, to some moments of real, shocking darkness, he captures all of the script’s many tonal shifts, constantly surprising the listener with his performance.

The sound design here is handled by Richard Fox, who not only brings the titular tropical beach sounds to life with flair, but also other sounds, including a very important packet of unearthly shortbread which features in a scene where the narrator uses ASMR to… well, you’ll just have to listen- it’s one of those brilliantly crazy scenes that really has to be heard to be believed!

Final Thoughts

Experimental, funny, dark, gripping, Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4 is a brilliant script, elevated by an irresistible performance from Sir Michael Palin. This is truly a story that could only be done on audio: an inventive tale that constantly surprises. Thoroughly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you enjoy Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4, I’d definitely recommend you pick up the fantastic Dead Media (review here) and I Am The Master, similar stories that push the limits of the audio medium.

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