Tea in the Sahara
Kev – Fiction Podcast Critic
Dirty Diana’s opening credits warn the audience that the show contains adult language & explicit scenes, and is therefore not advised for persons under the age of 17 to firmly paint the image you’re not in Kansas anymore! Dirty Diana is an adult-themed podcast by QCode, created by Shana Feste, acted and produced by silver-screen actress Demi Moore. Think of the show as a hybrid between Sex in the City, and the 1990s film Basic Instinct, however within this podcast no one dies; well least not yet anyway.
To set the scene Demi Moore plays the lead character Diana, who on the surface appears to be your stereotypical wife/mom living in middle something America that the rest of the world is accustomed to when thinking of the big U.S.A. Diana starts out in the series as a helpless lady surviving within a boring male chauvinist finance firm, coupled with a rapidly failing marriage and unsettling addiction to prescription drugs. Is there a way out for Diana? Well, that escapism and sanctuary come in the shape of Diana running her own secretive erotic sex-positive website called “Have a Good Wood” where she records intimate female fantasies for her ever-growing popular podcast. I bet you didn’t see that one coming now did you?
Each episode is aptly named after the lady sharing her particular secret fantasy, and without giving away the obvious, and trying to remain British some of them are quite risque. Naughtiness aside the show is much more than provocative fantasies as the podcast deftly documents Diana’s car-crash life as it entangles and spirals out of control right in front of you. This ingenious writing concept by Shana Feste is quite revolutionary placing the female character centre-stage allowing the listener almost Hitchcock “Rear Window” access to Diana’s very intimate life.
Charting marital infidelities, counselling, and trademark estranged mother, the show all-be-it the very extreme end of life really does showcase how easily lives can spin out of control. The writing is flanked by a stellar cast of actors like Danish actor Claes Bang, actress Mackenzie Davis of Terminator Dark Fate fame, and one of my personal favourites fellow Brit Carmen Ejogo as Petra.
As mentioned the quality of actors on display would give Netflix a hit show, however, convert that into audio and you really see if an actor is worth their hefty price tag as there is nowhere to hide within audio dramas. I will highlight two of my favourite characters from the podcast, but before that, I want to also acknowledge how class Demi Moore is as Diana. Her instantly recognisable husky voice really lends to the spicy theme of this audio drama as she takes to audio work like a duck to water. You should also keep an ear out for Eric the hapless gringy bartender who pops up during ladies’ night with all the cheesy one-liners. His inclusion was comedy genius.
Petra played by Carmen Ejogo is a real force to be reckoned with, her presence adds a much-needed classy, no-nonsense, foxy panache to the show. Petra is the recent sole heiress of her father’s wealthy estate which is linked to Diana’s financial firm. Petra is a lady that knows exactly what she wants, and how to have a good time whilst she gets it. This is another shrewd move by the writer allowing a strong female character to co-exist with the lead character, but not too allowing Petra’s performance to overshadow Diana’s story.
The second actor I would like to mention is Claes Bang who plays Diana’s husband Oliver, whom most Brits might recognise as Count Dracula from the recent BBC TV series about the famous bloodsucker. Like Diana, Oliver’s character also starts out life as a fairly useless man coasting through life desperately trying to save his ailing marriage as it veers ever closer to the impending rocks. Claes brings a talented sense of tragicness and desperation to the role of Oliver which was wonderful to hear acted out. My favourite scene with Oliver takes place at their daughter’s school singing performance where Oliver and Diana share a moment of recollection of how their life used to be, the fun, the laughter which was quite a touching scene of joint reminiscence.
I couldn’t write this review without mentioning the music used throughout the podcast which was ace! Original music & composition was supplied by Darren Johnson who weaves the music into the very fabric of this audio drama. I want to highlight a super cool track that was dropped in the show which worked so well. The nightclub scene where Oliver takes Diana to meet the stripper he has been visiting is backed by a track called ‘Painting Greys’ by a chap called Emmit Fenn which sounds slightly Dr Dre’ish in parts and works perfectly for that particular sleazy nightclub scene.
So who would listen to Dirty Diana? Well if you are reading this blog I would like to think that you hopefully have a thirst for seeking out interesting, challenging podcasts not shy of offering you the listener something different. The theme is very much on the seedier, raunchier side of things, but life is not all unicorns & candyfloss, right? However, the core message of this ongoing story for me is all about Diana and how she loses control and turns a corner towards turning that around (that is all I will say). This is just the first season of Dirty Diana so I personally cannot wait to see what antics the writers have in store for Diana come the second season!
The show can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you use to listen to your podcasts. Oh, and just some friendly advice if you choose to listen to Dirty Diana I would recommend using headphones as there are some more, well let’s just say adult scenes that should not be played on your Amazon Alexa whilst you make your dinner; just friendly advice!
Are you looking to have your podcast or audio drama reviewed? Well look no further you’ve unexpectedly found your perfect partner; Tea in the Sahara! Whatever your podcast genre please do get in touch via any of the below methods or through my contacts page, and check out my other reviews cheers, Kev.