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The Doctor and friends arrive in a nuclear winter,
This review is from: The Last (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
"Trapped on a dying world, the Doctor and Charley come face-to-face with those responsible for the war to end all wars, while C'rizz tries to understand what has happened and learns the terrible truth.
"Powerful forces are at work on Bortresoye that not even a nuclear holocaust can tame; natural forces that have excited the interest of Excelsior, the self-proclaimed saviour of her people.
"With Charley immobilised and C'rizz left to battle against the elements with some of the victims of war, one final, desparate hope of escape presents itself to the travellers.
"But who will be the last to leave the planet? Who will have to stay behind? And will the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz live long enough to find out?"
"The Last", by Gary Hopkins, maintains the imaginative streak shown in "Faith Stealer", building Big Finish's second Divergent Universe season into a more consistent and cohesive whole than the previous one.
This time, the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz find themselves caught up in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, in the ruins of an alien city ravaged by a nuclear winter; and, true to Big Finish Productions' high standards, the devastation and hostile climate is conveyed to perfection by the combination of fantastic sound design and very atmospheric music. It is bleakness at its truest.
A small guest cast play the last few survivors of the war on Bortresoye, holed up in a government bunker under the watchful eye of their leader, Excelsior (Carolyn Jones). Jones plays Excelsior very convincingly, and as the play goes on we witness her descent from delusion into total madness, without Jones' performance ever becoming OTT or unconvincing. Ian Brooker and Robert Hines make a good double act as the hapless Ministers for War and Peace.
This isn't India Fisher's finest hour as Charley, who sustains a grevious injury but remains insistently chirpy and sarcastic thanks to Fisher's slightly unsubtle performance. Paul McGann and Conrad Westmaas acquit themselves better, however, as the Doctor and C'rizz and provide the play with a strong lead.
As "The Last" proceeds to its bleak conclusion, with Charley seriously injured and C'rizz meeting a similarly unfortunate fate, it becomes increasingly apparent that a plot reset button will be required at the end of the play. However, when the somewhat predictable reset button does arrive it is well handled, and the listener is left with the feeling that the events of the past four episodes haven't been entirely meaningless after all. An atmospheric story well handled by the designers and generally well performed.