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"...is ultimately rewarding...",
This review is from: Doctor Who: Shockwave (Destiny of the Doctor 7) (Audio CD)
A spoiler-free review.
Truly, I had hoped that the word `faith' would not become a central theme in DOCTOR WHO - DESTINY OF THE DOCTOR: SHOCKWAVE as it's been an over conceit within the McCoy/Seventh Doctor stories, and it's a lazy device as it attempts to seed itself into your heart & conscience. "Writers, enough is enough, I get it"; the damaged Ace's relationship with the manipulative Time Lord is layered, confused and only defined by him holding a broken mirror up to her.
So, `faith'? Is it key to James Swallow's seventh chapter to the `loosely' linked 50th anniversary audiobook series from AUDIOGO (in association with BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS)? Yes, tangentially.
Like a feral cat unsuccessfully climbing across a blackboard, the McCoy DOCTOR WHO theme music aurally screeches uncompromisingly that transports the listener to the late 1980's and the death throes of the series as it struggles to consolidate its 25-year broadcasting history against cynical BBC Executives and a disenchanted, dwindling TV audience. At the time of season 25, Sylvester McCoy was homing his character with the series' writers germinating the concept of a Doctor playing a dangerous `long game' with the universe & reality itself, whilst Sophie Aldred's Ace enjoying the revelry of traversing space:time untainted by her past and future. For her, yes, by the time of SHOCKWAVE, she's grown, strengthened by the Doctor's confidence in her but remains pliable and with a morality that defines her enduring humanity.
The Doctor: We're here to rob a bank vault.
It transpires that the Time Lord is seeking a message from the future that is embedded within the culture & myth of Tarsus Six, a planet on the verge of disintegration courtesy of their galaxy's exploding star/sun. Heralded as divine artefact by the planet's religious cult, `The Senders', the "Voice of Stone" holds the key to how an individual's life is at the very core of a civilisation's continued existence and how that one life must be sacrificed to retain a balance within the universe and time.
The story, as you'd expect, tests Ace's compassion - a mirror that held up to the listener - and threatens the destiny of Tarsus Six evacuees as they desperately flee from the pending star/sun's shockwave.
Along with DESTINY OF THE DOCTOR `chapter three', SHOCKWAVE represents the most easily accessible, non-convoluted storyline to date, very linear and character-led, performed with dexterity by Aldred (her `yoofful' Ace realisation sounds as if she had recorded the script back in 1988 for future use and not actually in 2013) and Ian Brooker, supported by a suitably chaotic effects soundtrack (by Matthew Cochrane) and an astringent music score (by Daniel Brett) that, like the incidental music of the McCoy era from the likes of Jeff McCulloch, jars and conflicts with the performances throughout.
In her performance, for DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC SERIES purists, Aldred's Seventh Doctor's Scottish lilt may be too broad if not stereotypically all tartan-and-haggis but, overall, it's highly effective, measured, calming especially when set against the desperation of Brooker's Tarsus Six's pressured Commanding Officer.
Very listenable and inoffensive, and maybe a suitable introduction for NEW SERIES fans who haven't ventured into the Seventh Doctor's televised episodes, and with an interesting plot-device link to Neil Gaiman's SERIES 6 episode, SHOCKWAVE is ultimately rewarding.