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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Game, 24 Jun. 2010
By 
Tim Allan (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who Companion Chronicles Solitaire (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Solitaire really is something special. As a Companion Chronicle it is absolutly unique in that rather than being a dramatic monolouge with one extra character it is a full cast play (albeit one that features two actors). India Fisher returns as Charley Pollard with (the lower case loving) david ballie putting in a superb performance as the Celestial Toymaker. The Eighth Doctor is in this story but is trapped as a ventriloquists doll only able to communicate via Charley. A wonderfully creepy idea Im sure you'll agree.

The Eighth Doctor and Charley era is one of my favourite eras of Doctor Who ever and so it was great to be able to revisit it, with Solitaire taking place between "Embrace The Darkness" and "Time Of The Daleks" (it even has the return of the original Eighth Doctor audio theme version which in my opinion is a lot better than his current theme).

I can highly recommend Solitaire as not just one of the best Companion Chronicles but one of the best releases Big Finish have ever done. A favourite.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I went to the moon where I played THE GAME, 15 July 2010
By 
Ms. Sarah E. Tarrant (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who Companion Chronicles Solitaire (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Personally I have always thought of Charlie Pollard as being one of the better audio regulars so I was surprised and delighted when I heard she had gained an entry in the Companion Chronicles series. However SOLITARE is certainly not your traditional offering. Essentially it is a two handed full cast play with no narrative conveyed in real time. Joining India Fisher we have David Baile whom I think renders a worthy distinctly measured self assured vocal delivery as the Celestial Toymaker. If like me you enjoyed the previous two actor SCHERZO December 2003 title then the challenging SOLITARE will certainly feel like relatively familiar ground. This is typified by its puzzling nature and the fact that the toyshop is reducing in size as Charlie plays THE GAME. Early on there is a nice brief nod back to previous Eighth Doctor audio characters and adversaries during a basic rhyming wordplay between the two characters. By portraying the Time Lord as a dummy this allows India to neatly sidestep attempting a vocal interpretation of Paul McGann. Featuring a relaxed and pleasing 13 min CD EXTRAS chat which hints at a possible spin off audio series this 77min SOLITARE title is a pleasing addition to the Companion Chronicles range. Both a worthy addition to the Celestial Toymaker and a satisfying bonus to the continuing adventures of Edwardian adventuress Charlotte Pollard I think fans of this character will not be disappointed with this release.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who's the dummy?, 5 July 2010
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dr Who Companion Chronicles Solitaire (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Latest Doctor Who Companion Chronicle. These are a series of talking books that have an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv returning to the role to read an all new story with one other guest actor performing one of the roles. They are complete in two thirty minute long episodes on one disc.

But this one, as they do on occasion, breaks the format. It features India Fisher returning to the role of Charley, companion to the eighth doctor and then the sixth in a great many other audio stories. And it's a full cast drama without any narration.

Still the same cast size as usual for the range though because in addition to Charley there's only one other character. The Doctor's old foe immortal and supremely powerful games playing mandarin the Celestial Toymaker. Here played as he was in The Nightmare Fair (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories).

This story takes place in between two of Charley's earlier adventures Embrace the Darkness (Doctor Who) and The Time of the Daleks (Doctor Who) and follows a classic drama style of being a long scene with just a pair of actors. Although there is an episode break and cliffhanger midway through.

Charley finds herself in a toyshop. With no idea who she is or how she got there. There are ventroloquists dolls who yell deadly warnings. One of them wears a cravat and looks very bohemian. And the strange owner of the shop utters strange riddles and wants her to play a game. She has no idea what the rules are.

Things proceed like this throughout, but what could be frustrating isn't because the script moves along at just the right pace and reveals the right amount of information at the right points. You never know where the story is going to go next. Especially after the surprising resolution to the cliffhanger, which takes things in a whole new direction and adds new elements to both characters.

Resolution is finally achieved and there are great character moments as a result. And the final scene could be predictable but it ends on such a great note that it doesn't matter at all.

It's a play that will benefit from repeated listening as you need to keep your wits about you at all times. But it's such a good way that that should be a worthwile exercise.

This is a highly recommended release.

There's a trailer for the next companion chronicle at the start of the disc and twelve minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew at the end. Regular big finish listeners will find some exciting news about the future of a certain character in the middle of these, so do listen to them as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend it, 28 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Dr Who Companion Chronicles Solitaire (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) (Audio CD)
Product arrived on time and in excellent condition.

Featuring: India fisher as Charley and David Bailie as the Celestial Toymaker
Stand alone? : Yes.

Summary of the plot:
Charlotte Pollard arrives in a toyshop. She appears to be suffering from memory loss as she does not know who she is.The owner of this shop is known for his games and is an old enemy of the Doctor. He already has the Doctor trapped and now he’s playing games with Charley too.

Review:
This is a companion chronicle and does not feature the Doctor, well not in the way we know him anyway. There’s no second guessing with this story, a clever piece of writing with unnerving and surprising twists. John Dorney grabs the listeners attention straight away and maintains it throughout with an intriguing and complex plot. You feel as though you are drawn into the Toy-maker's game and solving the puzzles along with Charley.

Both actors showed wonderful performances. Having never watched “The Celestial Toy room”, this story was my introduction to the Toymaker. I have to say David Bailie is fantastic, tying elements of arrogance, sinisterness and playfulness into his performance. Possibly one of India Fisher’s best performances, such a wide range of emotion. You can really tell how far she’s come into the role since “Storm warning.”

Remember to listen right to the end for CD extras.
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