Tag Archives: Fred Riding

NEWS: New Old Friends present: Crimes of a Country Garden 2nd story in the award-winning audio comedy murder mystery series

New Old Friends have created a second original story to build on the success of their award-winning debut; Crimes of a Country Garden. Crimes Against Christmas, originally intended as a standalone ‘gift’ to their followers proved such a success, the company have once again teamed up with long-time collaborator Fred Riding to create an audio comedy murder mystery. It will be released through their rebranded podcast channel; Comedy Whodunnits – for your ears.

The touring theatre company lost two national tours and at least one Christmas show in 2020; they responded by creating a festive comedy audio drama released in daily instalments throughout advent. It was a way of guaranteeing the delivery of ‘comedy nonsense’ to their audience that Covid couldn’t derail. The result, Crimes Against Christmas, proved hugely popular with over 36,000 downloads, claiming the number two spot in the iTunes fiction chart throughout December, being featured on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and even winning an OnComm award. Not bad for a first attempt at audio comedy.

Unlike Crimes Against Christmas, the new show, Crimes of a Country Garden, is not an adaptation of an existing stage play. Rather, it has been written especially for the medium and builds upon the skills and experienced gained with the first series. This means there are more audio-specific gags written into the piece, but it doesn’t stray too far from the popular format of the company’s ‘Crimes…’ series; namely a classic murder mystery tale peopled with hilarious characters delivering witty wordplay in silly voices.

Crimes of a Country Garden still owes a debt to the oeuvre of Agatha Christie but is perhaps closer to P.G. Wodehouse in tone. We follow Penny Pink in her quest to become a detective (not easy as a woman in the 1930s) as she takes a job as assistant to established sleuth Perry Pink (no relation) and proves her worth. On this case the P. Pink Detective Agency are hired by the Earl of Longmeadow to investigate the murder of his beloved rosebushes, but no sooner is Penny on the scene than the gardener turns up dead and the mystery begins.

The six-episode podcast will be released at 00:00am each Thursday morning and be accessible on most podcasting platforms (including Apple, Spotify and Google) as well as YouTube with scrolling text for d/Deaf audiences.

Co-artistic director and performer Heather Westwell said: “Last year was pretty awful for everyone, especially touring theatre, but we were determined to put out something fun and true to our style as a company. We were overwhelmed by the support and love that Crimes Against Christmas received and when we had to push our (already rescheduled) spring tour back from February to April at the earliest we quickly decided to create something new to hopefully lift the spirits of our audience in this latest lockdown.”

Co-artistic director and performer 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.”

New Old Friends are an award-winning theatre company dedicated to creating original comedy theatre, founded in 2008 and run by husband-and-wife team Feargus Woods Dunlop and Heather Westwell. In 2017 and 2018 the company were awarded the Creative Bath Award for writing. Previous shows include five instalments of the hugely popular Crimes… series of comedy thrillers, including 2019’s spring hit Crimes on the Nile. In summer 2019, their adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’ The Falcon’s Malteser enjoyed a six-week run at London’s Vaults Theatre. It was selected as a ‘Critic’s Choice’ for ‘Best Family Shows’ by the Guardian. Their latest show for families, Swiss Family Robinson (Top 40 Christmas shows 2019, inews) premiered at The Core at Corby Cube Christmas 2019.

Episode duration: Approximately 25mins | Suitable for ages 12 and up

Listings information

4th February – 11th March 2021

A new episode weekly at 00:00am Thursday

Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/comedy-whodunnits-for-your-ears/id1540599662

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/6CidzIxXBonFB6qs1Djjxs

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjdrPlBTdCQ

Anchor FM and all other platforms https://anchor.fm/crimesagainstchristmas