"In the depths of space a little known district harbours a terrible secret. Long known as a place of death, it claims thousands more lives as a greast corporate space-fleet goes to war. As the fleet screams out in fear and pain, an irresistible voice calls out to three travellers and a macabre mind sets a deadly trap...
"The Doctor, Peri and Erimem face the terrors of Talderun and the wrath of a corporate empire as they struggle to understand the hideous secret of the domain of the dead - a district known in legend as Nekromanteia."
"Nekromanteia", by Austen Atkinson, is one of those unpopular stories that fans are supposed to dislike. There aren't generally reasons given for this, but in listening to the play one can see where the critics are coming from.
"Nekromanteia" is a dark play that, thematically, is very much in keeping with the late Season 21 era of "Resurrection of the Daleks" and "The Caves of Androzani". There is violence, mutilation and death; terrible things happen to the companions; and the Doctor is constantly on the brink of losing control of the situation. Parts of "Nekromanteia" are genuinely scary, helped by the intimidating sound design and music.
However, the plot of "Nekromanteia" is muddled and the supporting characters are unsympathetic, with one or two shoddy performances mixed in. Gilly Cohen as the high priestess Jal Dor Kal has earned particular criticism for her screaming, cackling performance that sounds like a children's cartoon villain, and Glyn Owen's performance is forced as the "gruff" Commander Harlon. Alongside these dubious supporting performances, the three regulars are characterised well and their performances are brilliant, adding to "Nekromanteia"'s inconsistency and contrasts.
Given the horrors witnessed by Peri and Erimem suffer over the course of the play, one would have thought that both would leave the Doctor at the first opportunity afterwards, or at least be permanently traumatised. However, by the tone of the closing scene one strongly suspects that things will return to normal after the events of "Nekromanteia", leaving Atkinson's play rather insular in its own self-contained world of horror.