Hammer Chillers: The Fixation. Audiobook Review

Hammer Chillers coverTHE FIXATION by Mark Morris

Hammer Chillers, Download, £2.99

Reviewed by Chris Limb

Neurotic busybody Ian Hibbert is becoming increasingly frustrated by life in Darwell. When him and his family first moved there fourteen years ago it was a pleasant place to live but recently it has been turning into a slum, rubbish piling up uncollected in the streets and gangs of hooded youths running unchecked across the estates.

With a couple of like-minded neighbours he starts the Clean Up Darwell group and is determined to make the town once more a pleasant place to live even if they do have to collect all the rubbish themselves.

To Hibbert’s shock and surprise his initiative is met with outright hostility and after his daughter is attacked it becomes clear that someone wants Darwell left just as it is.

Is there no one to turn to?

The Fixation is a play that keeps the listener guessing right up until the last scene – and even then leaves some questions unanswered. The play starts out in a light hearted comic vein, Miles Jupp’s Ian Hibbert is just the kind of obsessive agitated character that an audience loves to loath and yet on some level sympathises with, a man driven to the brink of a coronary by the way the world appears stacked against him.

The comedy continues with the introduction of his fellow members of Clean Up Darwell (“We are not calling ourselves CUD!”) especially Ewan Bailey’s cheerful van owning Malcolm Beglin. It’s only when the group start to be frustrated in their ambitions at every turn and then threatened that the comedic atmosphere turns dark. Worse is the indifference of the local police, even when Hibbert’s daughter Samantha (Lauren Kellegher) is attacked. By the time it becomes clear just how isolated the Hibberts and their colleagues are the sense of claustrophobia and isolation is palpable.

The unanswered questions about Darwell leave the way open for Hammer Chillers to revisit this location in future, although as Hibbert learns, perhaps some places are best left well alone.