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Alaska with the Doctor, Ace and Hex
on 12 June 2015
Wrap yourself wrap! It's going to get cold from now on.
'Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge' is another adventure starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor; Sophie Aldred as Ace and Phillip Oliver as Hex. It's an eerie and disturbing four-part story by Marty Ross, based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and is set within the citadel of an Alaskan island in 1934.
The story has the Doctor, Ace and Hex arriving off the coast of Alaska to discover this long-forgotten island with a citadel. They venture forth to find an expedition led by a ruthless man and a horror writer with a secret that he doesn't know about. Can they discover what's going on and survive?
I can't help but admit I'm rather disappointed with this audio drama. It's not because the story's bad. The story is quite interesting. But I feel 'Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge' doesn't match up to the brilliance of the two latest stories with the Doctor, Ace and Hex that I enjoyed compared to this one.
Also I felt that I lost my way when listening to this story. It's starts pretty well at the beginning with 'Part One' and ends well with 'Part Four'. But with 'Parts Two and Three', I couldn't help with feeling muddled about some characters; what was going on and where everything is in the story.
I've never heard of Lovecraft and the sci-fi/horror works he did before listening to this play. I found some of the literary references interesting, but I still couldn't help but feel slightly detached as to what was going on. I'll have to listen to the story again to get a firm grasp of what happened.
I did like some of the character performances by the actors featured in this play, especially with the regulars who connected to some of the supporting cast. Homing in on the eerie and surreal aspects of the characters got me intrigued and got me disturbed as I expect the writer meant to here.
I was surprised yet pleased that Hex was still travelling with the Doctor and Ace, despite what happened in 'Project: Destiny' and 'A Death in the Family'. Here we see what the TARDIS team are usually best at in having adventures in time and space and seemed to be well-settled by this point.
Hex gets separated from the Doctor and Ace in this one. I wondered how this TARDIS trio would be reunited again and whether they would survive all the dangers. The Doctor and Ace get to meet the Lovecraftian horror-comics author, whilst Hex is on his own in mortal danger with other characters.
Sylvester McCoy delivers as ever a great performance as the Doctor. I do feel that the Doctor isn't so manipulative as he tends to be and gets into trouble easily with being locked up. I like the behind-the-scenes story that Sylvester has been to Alaska already before recording to this play.
Sophie Aldred is delightful as Ace. I like it that Ace gets to have her own adventure in this one. Here we see a side of Ace rarely seen, as she gets to display a gentler and caring side when connecting to D.C. Doveday. I really like this side to Ace compared to her usual, gun-ho manner in other stories.
Phillip Olivier is equally good as Hex here. He also has his own adventure and gets to display his nurse caring skills again. Hex is upset when Whytecrag seemingly kills the Doctor and Ace when separated from them. I like the bond he forms with Professor Corbin and gets to defy Whytecrag.
The guest cast includes Michael Brandon as C.P. Doveday. Michael has been in the TV series of `Doctor Who' in the episode `The Stolen Earth'.* Doveday writes the 'Shuddersome' Tales' stories. I like Michael's performance from slightly innocent to increasingly disturbed, when aroused.
Stuart Milligan appears as Emerson Whytecrag. Stuart has appeared in the TV series as Richard Nixon in the two-part story 'The Impossible Astronaut'/'Day of the Moon'. Whytecrag is a pretty menacing character, leading an expedition and attempts to kill the Doctor and Ace with a grenade.
The cast also includes Kate Terence as Dr Freya Gabriel, who has hypnotised C.P. Doveday and Alex Lowe as Professor August Corbin, who is part of Whytecrag's expedition. There's also Sam Clemens as Slade, working for Whytecrag and Duncan Wisbey as Captain Akins, working for Dr Gabriel.
The lurkers are the alien Karnas'koi, described as vast and wing-like. They sound scary on audio and certainly from the images of clawing hands on the CD sleeve notes. It turns out that Doveday is one of these Karnas'koi, but he doesn't know it as he's been hypnotised by Gabriel to avoid knowing.
The story ends with the Doctor, Ace and Hex escaping the citadel on the Alaskan island. But Doveday has been left behind. They return to the TARDIS, as Hex cleans himself up whilst Ace is sad and solemn. The Doctor reassures Ace about Doveday and it's a sweet and gentle way to end the story.
'Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge' hasn't been an overly satisfying audio to listen to. It's not the best story I've heard, but it's far from worse. I've enjoyed listening to the Doctor, Ace and Hex as the TARDIS trio they've become. I'm wondering what will happen to them and where they will go next.
Just to mention, the TARDIS' exterior has been white since 'The Angel of Scutari'. I'm still wondering why it's white and why it hasn't reverted back to being a blue police box yet. I'll have to find out more when I listen to the next set of stories featuring the Seventh Doctor. I can't wait.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there's a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there's a trailer for 'The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories' with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew.
The next story for the Doctor is 'Robophobia'.
*Thanks to Timelord007 for mentioning Michael Brandon's appearance in `The Stolen Earth'.