“Marry Me Margaret” by Randall Wheatley

Margaret is a savior, yet a mystery. A point of attraction, and yet she is a person who cannot be understood without seeing her through the eyes of someone else. She is flawed, complicated and not so subtly reflective of many qualities that might exist within those who meet her through the man who knows her better than anyone else – Randall Wheatley. In Marry Me Margaret, the modern day radio play that from one Randall Wheatley, we’re introduced to a storyteller extraordinaire who isn’t shy about getting into the nitty gritty when it makes a tale even more tangible to the audience. His style is familiar, but his execution is anything but predictable in this fun, fourteen-part series available worldwide this coming June.

As far as production quality goes, most of the varnish throughout the Marry Me Margaret series is placed on Wheatley’s spoken word and not the music that that accompanies him. The vibrant string play of “The Red Kettle” aches with a graininess that alludes to the dreamlike drawl of Wheatley being a little more transparent and literal than it actually is. In “The Best Job,” it’s not nearly as vitality-filled; it’s staggering, flanked with white noise and tucked beneath our storyteller’s voice as though it were almost nonexistent outside of our own minds. The music here is at times unassumingly postmodern and speckled with appropriate effects, adding to the narrative in a way that, in my professional estimation, makes Marry Me Margaret feel like a page-turning novella more than it does another storyboarded podcast.

MORE ON RANDALL WHEATLEY: randallwheatley.com/home

The flow between the chapters in this series truly is remarkable, especially when taking into account how poetic and relentlessly sharp some of the scene transitions tend to be. There’s so much surrealism in both the linguistic approach Randall Wheatley takes and the means through which we experience his story in Marry Me Margaret that I think millennial audiences are really going to take to this before anyone else does. Older generations will appreciate the old school stylization of the plot, but in general, I get the impression that Wheatley was looking to craft something forward-thinking as opposed to a throwback to the iconic days of BBC Radio 4 short stories.

Slated to release new episodes of this wild tale from one week to another, Randall Wheatley is offering audiences the chance to experience one of the more unique releases of the season thus far in Marry Me Margaret, and considering how lackluster a season it’s been on all fronts, this is quite the gem indeed. There aren’t a lot of spoken word artists, nor traditional storytellers, that I’ve reviewed in the last few years that have as authentic a tone as Wheatley does, and in Marry Me Margaret, he sounds as genuine and real as he would in front of a roaring campfire surrounded by friends. The intimate setting of this story makes it a difficult one to turn down once you’ve been exposed for the first time, and that’s why I’m ranking it one of my favorites of the year so far.

Clay Burton