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Arrangements for war: A well arranged audio drama
on 22 January 2013
This is the fifty seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and Maggie Stables as the redoubtable Evelyn Smythe. 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.
After the devastating events of Project:Lazarus, Evelyn needs some time to think. Things are getting too much for her, mainly the things she hasn't told him, and his attitude to the deaths of friends. Six, in his compassionate and understanding mode, takes her to the planet of Villag, in a period of time where ostensibly there are no monsters to fight, only a royal marriage to enjoy. Evelyn goes off on her own, and needless to say things do not go to plan as the pair are thrust into a series of adventures and recently won universal peace on the planet starts to disintegrate as a result of their interventions.
This is one of the very best dramas in the range. And that's up against some very stiff competition. Evelyn comes into her own here as a companion able to stand up to Six and his bombast. Stables brings a real depth to the character, and really takes all the opportunities handed to her by an excellent script. Baker gets to show off how good his Doctor could have been, his performance full of energy, compassion, infinite sorrow and subtlety where required. The chemistry between the two comes out perfectly, and the study of their relationship is nicely done.
By contrast with the narrow focus on their relationship, the story has an epic feel, spanning several weeks, three countries, complicated political machinations and the lives and relationships of others, especially the illicit relationship between the Princess and a soldier. The contrast between the personal stories and the big picture makes this a superior drama.
Added into the mix is the excellent Gabriel Woolfe as Rossiter, a well developed character who forms a strong attachment with Evelyn. Woolfe if perfect for the part, and delivers a nuanced and sympathetic performance and makes Rossiter a very believable character.
All in all, one of the best in the range. Epic drama, touching love story, this release has it all. 5 stars.