Drama in the Mix production Hoop Dreams is an extremely impressive radio play with many captivating features including sound effects (with some spot effects), characterisation, and backing music. The play, performed by students from The City Academy, Hackney, also had a really clever plot. Hoop Dreams tells the story of a boy called Kevin (played by writer Kevin Ilunga) and his best friend Ray (Jan Habiak). Ray proves that “hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard” when they compete in a basketball competition and one of them ends up in the Olympic Basketball team.
One of the ways the group engaged the listeners at the Rich Mix live performance was through the sound effects they used. This is because they used both live (which are called spot effects) and pre-recorded sound effects to make the audience feel that they were there with the characters. At one point in the play Ramaar Morgan-Johnson used the spot effect of a ball bouncing on the stage to represent Kevin and Ray playing basketball on a court, which made the scene come to life. One pre-recorded sound effect that was used particularly effectively was that of exaggerated heart beats, which created a dramatic atmosphere as the tension increased. The performers also used backing songs to create mood and build the anticipation in the audience.
Another brilliant aspect of Hoop Dreams was the characterisation, particularly Morgan-Johnson’s Jamaican granddad. The combination of his fantastic accent and the famous quote “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” made audience members laugh several times.
Lastly, the clever plot , beautifully narrated by Ramani Boreland, engaged the audience throughout, leaving us in suspense on several occasions; it also provided listeners with a moral that we can all aspire to.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the play and would happily listen to it again. Listen to it yourself by clicking on the link below, where you’ll find recordings of all the radio plays performed as part of BBC London’s Drama in the Mix talent showcase.