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The Natural History of Fear (Doctor Who)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the fifty fourth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight, India Fisher as Charley Pollard and Conrad Westermaas as new companion C'rizz. It is the third in a season of four linked Eighth Doctor stories that follow directly from the events of Zagreus. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.

This is one of the more experimental releases from Big Finish. It all seems a bit confusing at first, as we hear the three main actors giving voices to characters that do not at first appear to be Eight, Charley and C'rizz. You start to think you might know what is going on and why the characters act as they do, but then, right at the end, the rug is totally pulled out from under you as a big twist reveals just what has happened.

I have to say, the first time I heard this it didn't really do much for me. But second time around, a few years later, I thought `WOW'! The story is a bit of a confused jumble, but it draws you in and totally adsorbs you as you try to make sense of it all. Then the ending is sort of `gosh, I never expected that'.

Credit to cast and crew - the cast for managing to play outside their usual characters so believably, and the writers/producers for making it adsorbing rather than too confusing to be entertaining. It's a great production, 5 stars.
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on 17 April 2009
IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO COPY OR ATTEMPT TO COPY ANY PERSONALITY OR MEMORY-RELATED ARTICLE SHOWN OR DISPLAYED IN THIS PUBLIC THEATRE, INCLUDING THIS WARNING. PUNISHMENT OR CONVICTION IS AN UNLIMITED REDUCTION OF AUTHORISED OVERTIME HOURS AND TOTAL PERSONALITY REVISION. YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BRING ANY JUKEBOX OR RECORDING EQUIPMENT INTO THIS PUBLIC THEATRE. THIS WILL BE TREATED AS AN ATTEMPT TO BREACH COPYRIGHT. ANY PERSON DOING SO CAN BE EJECTED AND THE EDITOR MAY CONFISCATE SUCH ARTICLES. WE ASK THE PUBLIC TO BE VIGILANT AGAINST ANY SUCH ACTIVITY AND REPORT ANY MATTERS AROUSING SUSPICION TO THEIR LOCAL CONSCIENCE. THANK YOU.

Public Warning
Faction Against Character Theft

Featuring the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C'rizz, this story takes place after the Big Finish story The Creed of the Kromon.
Three people are sitting in a room with a child's top, which is spinning so quickly that it seems to be standing still. The people in question sound like the Doctor, Charley, and C'rizz, but they are about to do something for the common good, and the sound of marching footsteps is growing louder. Whoever they are now, they won't be themselves for very much longer...

A dystopian vision of an all powerful state and an innovative idea; Jim Mortimore's scripts are never anything if not challenging and relentlessly creative and The Natural History of Fear is no exception with it's ironic commentary on fandom and its subversive take on the very show it is written for. This is consequently one of those love it or loathe it 'Marmite' stories and I have to say I loved it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 13 December 2004
Following the highly unimaginative Creed of the Kromon, Big Finish's 3rd season of 8th Doctor adventures goes all experimental again, with Jim Mortimore's The Natural history of Fear. A challenging and unique audio adventure, the play highlights the effect of the Doctor's arrival in a regressive regime where questions are forbidden for the good of the state. The story plays with the audio setting itself, with the authority figures constant 'revisioning' of characters leading to a heady mix of sound collages as characters rewind each others memories. The series regulars don't play their normal roles - Paul McGann spends most of the play as The Editor, frantically attempting to stop a revolution that no-one else can see, and unwittingly ending up brining it about - but the impact of the Doctors arrival is crucial to the story. Sparkling dialogue, great performances, some thought-provoking ideas and a lovely twist ending make this not only the sole worthy play in an otherwise lacklustre season, but one of the best audio Doctor Who stories ever. Essential.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO COPY OR ATTEMPT TO COPY ANY PERSONALITY OR MEMORY-RELATED ARTICLE SHOWN OR DISPLAYED IN THIS PUBLIC THEATRE, INCLUDING THIS WARNING. PUNISHMENT OR CONVICTION IS AN UNLIMITED REDUCTION OF AUTHORISED OVERTIME HOURS AND TOTAL PERSONALITY REVISION. YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BRING ANY JUKEBOX OR RECORDING EQUIPMENT INTO THIS PUBLIC THEATRE. THIS WILL BE TREATED AS AN ATTEMPT TO BREACH COPYRIGHT. ANY PERSON DOING SO CAN BE EJECTED AND THE EDITOR MAY CONFISCATE SUCH ARTICLES. WE ASK THE PUBLIC TO BE VIGILANT AGAINST ANY SUCH ACTIVITY AND REPORT ANY MATTERS AROUSING SUSPICION TO THEIR LOCAL CONSCIENCE. THANK YOU.

"Public Warning

"Faction Against Character Theft"

"The Natural History of Fear", by Jim Mortimore, coming after Philip Martin's disappointing "The Creed of the Kromon", is far more the type of weird and wonderful story one might expect from Big Finish's controversial Divergent Universe arc.

At some stage, the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz arrived in Light City, where the people act like robots in thrall to the all-powerful State: not the sort of society that the Doctor would normally tolerate for very long. Now, however, the Editor (Paul McGann) is the ultimate arbiter of the State and actively seeks to suppress any trace of individual thought amongst his people. Said people, including a pair of obedient citizens who sound very much like the Doctor's two companions, love the State and the State loves them.

It appears that the Doctor and his friends have been drawn into the society of Light City and undergone personality revision, like so many of its people, and as the characters they have become go through the trials and tribulations of their daily lives, the question becomes how they are going to regain their true memories and identities and escape from the nightmare they have found themselves in: particularly the all-powerful Editor, whose love of the State seems unassailable. Of course, there's a fantastic twist at the end, which will probably delight and frustrate the listener in equal measure.

The performances from regulars Paul McGann, India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas are bang on target, as are most of the supporting players. However, newcomer Westmaas' voice isn't very recogniseable after only one previous performance, tending to get lost amongst the remainder of the male cast.

"The Natural History of Fear" dares to be different and is generally a great success. However, listeners must be prepared for an ending that may alienate them to the rest of the story.
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