The Adventures of Sir Rodney The Root Review: A Party Worth Crashing
By Matti McLean - @thebigshibam
Social Connection: https://www.talkingfishpodcasts.com/
The Adventures of Sir Rodney the Root is a fantasy audio-comedy about the misadventures of the knight Gilbert, who is just trying to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, he's been saddled with a rag-tag group of companions: a fabulous elven mage, an ambitious princess, a sassy dwarven thief, a bizarre human child, a stoner unicorn... and a root named Sir Rodney.
Will they complete their convoluted fetch-quest and restore Rodney to human form? Or will they end up in way more trouble than they bargained for? One thing is for sure, it's going to be a crazy adventure along the way!
To begin with, The Adventures of Sir Rodney The Root opens with one of the funniest opening narrative podcast episodes I have ever heard.
It’s really, really funny.
The chemistry between the king, the princess, the knight and a root is palpably hilarious and has such a unique voice that I instantly knew that this would be a fantastic show that deserves to be listened to over, and over again.
With this scene it sets the tone to show that this show is radically different, hilariously bubbly and amazingly tongue in cheek.
Also weird. It’s very weird.
But I love weird. Weird is playful, and exciting and new and everything that deserves to be said and shown and experienced.
When something is weird it can pretty much decide to be whatever it wants to be. And this is very, very weird- and tells a story that others would do in a predictable way in a balls-out bonkers way that isn’t afraid to fly its freak flag high.
The biggest strength of this show is the dialogue. I’m a sucker for good dialogue- especially in an audio drama because that is truly the only way to get to know the characters. And this is well written dialogue. From the start- the wit is quick and sharp and the characters are well defined.
That is not to say that all the characters are well utilized- but I’ll get to that later.
For a story that boils down to a glorified fetch quest to rescue a damsel in distress (which in this case is a man trapped in a root - hilarious) this production does a great job of balancing the action with hilarious dialogue and exciting twists to keep things engaging for the long haul.
Now- this hilarious momentum set up in the opening scenes would be difficult for any show to sustain for a long period of time, and while this production does an admirable job of keeping the energy high, the humour quick, and the characters interesting and unique- it does fall into a few traps that do end up bogging it down in the long run.
Before anything, I do want to mention that this show is absolutely worth your time and is enjoyable from start to finish. With that being said there were some choices that were made that I feel hampered the story overall.
When dealing with audio narratives, one of the major challenges is ensuring that each character you introduce is 1) relevant, 2) distinct and 3) necessary.
With Sir Rodney, in almost every episode you are introduced to a new character that joins the party and in such a contained medium and a limited run of episodes, it means that with each new introduction you are limited in terms of what you can share/discover about the established ones. At first the party is small and while I enjoy some characters more than others, they each get their time to shine and play around within the medium- but as the party quickly bloats, even though the characters are hilarious and well defined- each introduction comes at the cost of the other players.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with the characters. From Gill, to Bianca, to Keanu (and especially Colin who is comedy gold) they all sparkle- but when you introduce so many it’s natural that some of them will inevitably fall to the way-side. While some are not well explained overall- often they don’t need to be. Keanu is exactly what you think he is- but presented in such a unique way that you have to admire the sheer gumption of having such a bold character choice in the body that they choose to go with.
My issue is that I know very little about the characters added later compared to the ones before- and because of all the additions, the earlier party members often feel brushed aside. In one episode I found myself surprised that at one point I had a hard time placing Gill in the party, and he’s supposed to be the protagonist.
Speaking of Gill- arguably we could say this entire venture is his story as he carries it from the beginning and is the owner of the eponymous root for the majority of the drama. He is very fleshed out and by the end of the story I have a pretty good sense of who he is. (also one of the best examples of subverting tropes with incredibly handled representation that simply MUST be commended) But when a relationship begins to bubble between him and another party member, I feel like it comes out of the blue- and the steps leading up to it feel a bit more flat rather than telegraphed. A love story is hard to do- and that goes double in a comedy podcast- because you have to keep it entertaining and believable. It just didn’t seem like there was much chemistry between the two before there was a sudden romance happening.
The same things happens to two other prominent characters where a love story that is actually treated rather well and is introduced as soon as the new party member is, is fleshed out. The issue becomes that this becomes one of the main characteristics of the new character and is therefore one of their only defining features through the rest of the plot. The story and the characters are both fine, but it would have been nice to get a better sense of who they were overall.
I would have loved to have seen this series have two/three more episodes just so that some of these relationships didn’t feel so rushed and we could spend more time with the characters. It would allow the story to breathe a bit more and flesh out some of the people who could have benefited like Bianca and Keanu. Then again, for a show that is essentially all about a fetch quest- I can’t fault it for airing on the side of caution and keeping things brief so that it didn’t stretch it’s story too thin in the process.
Now despite this nitpick, I can distinctly remember each of these characters which speaks beautifully to how they were written, performed and imagined. The performers are all driving the story full force the entire way through and they carry it along beautifully. With witty dialogue, great voice work and excellent production values, I can honestly say this is one that will likely get many relistens from me through the years.
Also, Colin could be one of my favorite characters that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing so far. Writing for children characters is hard and they nail it.
Perhaps my biggest issue going forward with this show is that I’m wanting more and they’re going to make me wait for it.
I can fully recommend this adventure for anyone who is looking to embark on a big, exciting, hilarious journey for any weary travelers and would encourage everyone to tune into this.
Technical: Excellent Quality
Voice Acting: Pristine
Characters: Well Defined
Length: Medium - 20-40 minutes
Rating: 5 Goats In A Catapult