Five Go to Demon’s Rocks is also available on YouTube so I’ve sat myself down tonight to listen to it and share my thoughts. This was released on the Hodder CDs with Soper illustrations in 2007, along with Five Go Adventuring Again but it doesn’t seem to be available online, or at least, not on Amazon. There is an ugly red version but I’m not sure if that has the same content or not.
In a slight change to several of the other audio dramatisations the early scenes are acted out instead of narrated, which is nice.
Aunt Fanny is still Aunt Fanny (though I had to skip back and relisten as it sounded like Quention was shouting on Danny at first!) and she gets to be superbly bossy and in control in the early parts of the story.
Joan/na is also great, with a lovely country accent which contrasts with her employers’ more well spoken voices. In the recording she is Joanna (as she is in several books) but in the text of Demon’s Rocks she’s actually Joan. She calls Quentin Professor Quentin at one point, something I skimmed the book for and couldn’t spot. She calls him Mr Kirrin in the text a few times – and there is one instance of Aunt Fanny being called Mrs Quentin but I think that’s an error.
Another odd thing is that the children and narrator refer to Ebenezer as “Ebi” (Ebb-ai) several times. I really don’t think that’s ever shortened like that in the book, though perhaps it was quicker and so took up less time to say Ebi than Ebenezer?
The confusing update is kept – where the children go to buy sweets for Jeremiah Boogle, but Tom keeps them in the shop to give to the old man. That made sense when they were buying tobacco but not sweets. Out of interest I’ve just done a bit of research and in the UK it became illegal to sell tobacco to under 16s in 1908. I’m sure that didn’t stop a lot of people as I’ve read many memoirs where children would be sent to the shop to get cigarettes for their parents, but it makes sense that Blyton would want her characters to be portrayed as law-abiding. Originally they spent three shillings on tobacco, this has been updated to 50p for the sweets.
Funnily though, Tinker still says something about the queer holes and tunnels. If this was a book it would have become strange or odd I’m sure.
Again there are a great array of characters given voices. Fanny, Quentin, Joanna and Professor Hayling at Kirrin Cottage, then Jeremiah Boogle, Constable Sharp, Jacob and Ebeneezer and Tom the Confectioner in Demon’s Rocks plus Gordon the driver in between, plus of course, the Five plus Tinker and Mischief.
Thankfully they don’t make too much of Tinker’s car noises throughout the story, that would have gotten annoying quickly I think. He does make a few noises at the start, but much of it is cut. Uncle Quentin does mistake one of Tinker’s bell noises for a real bell though! Even if it doesn’t sound anything like a bell. Mischief makes some really awful – painful to listen to – monkey noises on a couple of occasions but thankfully not often. The rest of his noises are fine though, the usual ‘ooh-oohs’ you would associate with a monkey. Timmy’s quite quiet as well, I didn’t notice any of his usual awful dog-noises.
Overall I enjoyed listening to the story. It’s one of my top FF books. For me though, the recording couldn’t quite capture the excitement of my two favourite scenes – when the boys race against the tide exploring the tunnels and when they ring the bell in the storm. I’m not sure why that is, but I think Blyton’s writing is brilliant at conveying tense scenes whereas the audio dramatisations aren’t as good. The book has a mixture of dialogue and descriptions which helps, but on the recording you get one or the other so you do miss out.