Who are the game players and why are they doomed to spend eternity repeating their actions? Who are the mysterious figures in the attic? Why is The Doctor on his way to an exclusive sanatorium in the Swiss Alps? And where are Ace and Hex?
All these questions and more are thrown up as the latest Doctor Who audio from Big Finish opens in enigmatic and puzzling fashion. Matthew Sweet (Doctor Who: The Year of the Pig, Bernice Summerfield: The Diet of Worms) has crafted a complex and creepy tale set in 1926, where in-between grisly EST sessions, the patients of the intriguingly named Dr Ludo Comfort play endless parlour games such as Snap! And musical chairs. Meanwhile, The Doctor struggles to remember why he is there, and it seems like this time the morally ambiguous Seventh incarnation of the Time Lord is a pawn, rather than the Grandmaster...
With an eerie gramophone musical accompaniment to the games being played; a raft of intriguing characters - from faded Music Hall stand-ups Harry and Herbert Randall, to Lola Luna, cabaret artiste extraordinaire - and the return of one of The Doctor's oldest and deadliest opponents; The Magic Mousetrap is both cosily familiar and utterly disquieting by turns; reminding me at times of the equally brilliant Eighth Doctor story `Chimes of Midnight'. Despite the odd dodgy `Allo Allo' accent, the story is both accessible and highly entertaining, and is one of the best Seventh Doctor audios for a long time.
As a bonus there is the first of a twelve-episode story entitled `The Three Companions Part 1'. It comes in place of the usual interviews, and is a welcome return for former companion of the Second Doctor, Polly Wright, and revolves around an internet chat between her and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT.
Great audio package, and a worthy addition to your CD collection.