Podcast of the week: Limetown Series 2

This exquisite mystery builds on the subtle magic of the first series

Limetown is breathtaking

Limetown is breathtaking

 

I covered the first series of Limetown last year in one of my first columns, assuming it was a one-shot series. The outstanding, edge-of-your-seat first series emerged in 2015. The landscape of podcasts has changed hugely since then, but the blazing finale is one of the most powerful podcast episodes I’ve ever heard – it’s a staggering, heart-racing work of fiction.

The first series focused on an investigative journalist unravelling the mystery of a compound in which all of the residents mysteriously disappeared. Lia Haddock is a Sarah Koenig-type character, and her quest is earnest and performed excellently. Over six episodes the mystery becomes bizarre and frightening but remains authentic and gripping – and it ends on a cliffhanger so ferocious I can remember where I was the first time I listened to it.

Limetown could have disappeared then, on a high, which made diving into the second series a little nerve-racking. Would the magic Limetown once held be gone? Happily, it isn’t. The team behind the show have used the intervening time to develop a complex, rich adventure that takes us even deeper into this world.

The writing is just as authentic; it has the feel of a cinematic thriller, without sounding like a table-read of a movie or a Netflix series. Limetown has the scope of a film: a full world has been created. The audio production is not like anything else. There is movement through place and time illustrated with techniques so subtle and immersive that when I realised what was happening I had to track back to make sure I was hearing it right. There is such craft here that it should act as a primer for anyone – especially anyone with a budget – who is trying to portray a thriller via the medium of the podcast. The only show like it in terms of sound design is The Orbiting Human Circus of the Air, which is exquisite but tonally very different.

There are only two episodes of the new series, out of five total, available now, so a listener would have plenty of scope to catch up on the first season and get involved in the new story. Don’t sleep on it: Limetown is breathtaking.

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