Sunday, 3 February 2013

REVIEW: Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective

She’s a young girl from the north, trying to make her way in the big city. He’s a pretentious, sexually ambiguous rock star who might just be telling the truth when he claims to have come from another planet. Naturally, they make a fabulous team.

Paul Magrs has created yet another fun and frivolous set of characters in Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective. Vince has actually appeared before; he popped up in both Enter Wildthyme and Magrs’s story ‘Hang Onto Yourself,’ in Obverse Books’ Bowie-flavoured release Lady Stardust. This was later, of course. Now it’s 1972, The Curse of Peladon is on the telly, and Vince Cosmos is gearing up to release his latest album and set the glam world on fire. As long as the Martians don’t get him first.

Bafflegab – the audiobook production company formerly known as Cosmic Hobo – bring Vince and his comrades to life in what is, I hope, the first in a series of cosmic chronicles. Vince is played by the irresistible Julian Rhind-Tutt, but he isn’t the star of his own show. This is Poppy Munday’s story. Lauren Kellegher brings Poppy to charming life as she tells the story of how she came to meet her glam rock idol and be drawn into his absurd world. Not that her world is that sensible to begin with; this is a reality in which the War of the Worlds is historical fact, and unless Vince can stop them, they silver-eyed Martians are set to conquer the Earth once and for all. Vince, an unapologetic synthesis of David Bowie and Iris Wildthyme, is a performer who can spout nonsense about his inspiration being dragged out from the galactic ether, and might even be speaking the truth. But probably not. Poppy is the perfect foil, starstruck but practical and simply adorable.

With a gorgeous seventies-inspired soundtrack provided by Edwin Sykes and Paul Morris, note-perfect performances from a cast that includes Katy Manning, David Benson, Alex Lowe and Margaret Cabourn-Smith, and Paul Magrs’s beguiling turns of phrase, this new release is tremendous fun. Given the option, pay a few extra quid and get the CD over the download – it’s worth it for Stuart Manning’s wonderfully retro case design. I very much hope that there are more adventures from this starman on the way.

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