New Old Friends produces audio comedy murder mystery

Published: 4 February 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

“Witty wordplay in silly voices”: Crimes of a Country Garden

Touring theatre company New Old Friends has created an audio comedy murder mystery, a six-episode podcast called Crimes of a Country Garden.

In 2020, New Old Friends lost two national tours and a Christmas show, so the company created Crimes Against Christmas, a festive comedy audio drama released in daily instalments during Advent. It was downloaded more than 36,000 times, claiming the number two spot in the iTunes fiction chart throughout December.

Now co-artistic directors Heather Westwell and Feargus Woods Dunlop will perform Crimes of a Country Garden after teaming up with long-time collaborator Fred Riding.

Feargus Woods Dunlop said, “Crimes Against Christmas took quite a convoluted route to audio form: it was a play which I spent the first lockdown turning into a novel, which I then adapted again into the audio drama we presented. It was a great challenge for me as a writer and we’re thrilled with the result.

“But for Crimes of a Country Garden, we knew what magic Fred could create with his sound and music and wanted to make better use of that. It was brilliant to be working on a script expressly for this medium.”

The drama does not stray too far from the popular format of the company’s Crimes series, namely a classic murder-mystery tale peopled with characters delivering witty wordplay in silly voices.

Said to be close to P G Wodehouse in tone, Crimes of a Country Garden features the Earl of Longmeadow hiring the P Pink Detective Agency to investigate the murder of his beloved rosebushes. But the gardener is found dead and the mystery begins.

The episodes of the drama will be released each Thursday morning on the New Old Friends podcast Comedy Whodunnits – for your ears.