Tea in the Sahara
Kev – Fiction Podcast Critic
How I love irony… and how ironic is it that friends of Tea in the Sahara Brett & John should kindly ask me to review their latest podcast – TAGGED – based on two travel influencers whilst I was away on holiday.
Created by writing duo Brett Neichen & John Scott Dryden – TAGGED A Social Media Thriller – is produced by Goldhawk Productions & Sony Music Entertainment. This is Sony’s exclusive foray into the podcasting arena – so kudos chaps – and welcome to the party Sony!
The narrative opens with influencer couple Tre (Ben Hardy), and Karlie (Jessica Plummer), under police interrogation in Greece. Yes guys, for those familiar with Brett & John’s writing style they love some geographical sightseeing storytelling as their audio vision unfolds. TAGGED has that international vibe that takes in both the exotic TripAdvisor reviews, and the seedier underworld of holiday destinations.
Before I go completely off piste let me back up for context – life was good within Tre & Karlie’s bubble along with their 1.5 million followers until two imposters (The Followers), clone their profiles, then begin to shadow their movements and online posts. After some monumentally bad AF decisions, and adding petrol to the fire, our lovers get mixed up in deceit, murder, and a shadowy lady called Evie.
Through listening you’ll find it’s not the meteoric rise to influencer echelons that listeners will enjoy that’s for certain. The dark polarizing backstories that lean heavily into the podcast’s plotline is definitely the baseline of its creativity. It gradually becomes apparent that our couple are not as squeaky clean as they try to make out. IMO, it is this continuing spiraling plotline that truly amplifies this audio drama’s charm.
In terms of characters TAGGED is inhabited by some rather shady individuals. Tre often says throwaway comments about what my inner monologue is thinking – with Jessica, as Karlie delivering a sterling American accent, so much so that you wouldn’t realize she was a Brit!
Once again the chaps have their writing fingers firmly on today’s popular culture pulse. Briefly speaking with Brett he feels that TAGGED could well be their best podcast to date…and I have to agree with him. Having had the privilege of writing reviews for most of the guy’s podcasts they never cease to astound me with their writing inspirations. With a strapline like – 8 countries, 2 murders, and 1 million witnesses – you know that the podcast is going to be ACE… right?
So is TAGGED worthy of liking, subscribing, and ringing its bell icon?
Initially, I have to admit that the concept for this podcast felt like it could be more my wife’s bag – being the bigger fan of influencers and Love Island types within our household *Kev falls on sword*
The plotline within TAGGED genuinely had me gripped from episode one as there were multiple moments where I thought I had the storyline pegged – and didn’t. All of this suspense made for an ultra-modern high-tempo game of cat & mouse podcast that I hope has that very same effect on you.
Final honorary mention to Sacha Puttnam & Erik Jourgensen for the awesome score within TAGGED – the chilled laidback beats created for the show’s episode-ending credits written by Erik fitted the style & tone of this podcast perfectly.
TAGGED – written by Brett Neichen & John Scott Dryden launches Monday 3rd April, and can be downloaded on all major podcast platforms, or Subscribers to The Binge channel via Apple Podcasts or GetTheBinge.com can access all episodes, ad-free on Saturday 1st April.
Your choice of podcast critic to follow is optional, so I am pleased that you took the option of reading my review. Once again, thank you Brett & John for entrusting me to write an indie review for you. If you’ve enjoyed my tone of writing get in touch for your own bespoke podcast review – firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s scores – 4.9/5
Cast & Crew
Created by Brett Neichin & John Scott Dryden
Karlie – Jessica Plummer, Tre – Ben Hardy, Mantis – Joplin Sibtain, Evie – Carin Chea, Greg – Joshua Collins, Paddy – Rob Jarvis
Laurence Bouvard, Walles Hamonde, Adam Fitzgerald, Natasha Arancini, Sophia
Del Pizzo, Matteo Caporusso, Michaela Moore, Christian Vit, Susanna Paisio, Albane Courtois, Marina Koem and Manolis Emmanouel
Written by Brett Neichin, Script editing – Mike Walker, Music – Sacha Puttnam & Erik Jourgensen
Editing & Sound Design – John Scott Dryden, Adam Woodhams
Sound Engineers – Paul Clark, Andy Welker & Greg Rubin, Assistant Editors – Andreina Gomez, Andy Goddard, Carlos San Juan, Udit Duseja & Gareth Young
Assistant Producer – Eleanor Mein, Production Co-ordinator – Jennifer Mistri, Marketing – Abbie Brock & Emily Webb
Head of Production – Lee-Anne Richardson, Producer – Emma Hearn
Director – John Scott Dryden
Executive Producers – Jez Nelson & John Scott Dryden
A Goldhawk & Sony Music Entertainment production
Previous Tea in the Sahara reviews
- The Foxes of Hydesville – Criminal Content & QCODE – podcast review
- TAGGED – SONY Music Entertainment & Goldhawk Productions – podcast review
- How to Win Friends and Disappear People – QCODE Productions – Podcast Review
- The Hunt for Typhoid Mary – BBC Northern Ireland Production review
- We’re Alive Descendants – revisited – Wayland productions