This is the sixty second 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 and Conrad Westmaas as C'Rizz. This is the sixth of a series of adventures in the Divergent universe following the events of Zageus, in which there is a loose story arc. Knowledge of some of these previous adventures will help with the enjoyment of this. 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.
The Kro'ka sends the three travellers to a zone like no other. It quickly becomes evident that ther is no life anywhere on the surface of the planet, after some cataclysm. There are a few survivors underground, but is all as it seems? And just how sane are they?
It's an interesting adventure in which the Doctor gets to confront some of his darker fears, and deep pain is brought to the fore in a reference to two characters from the TV series. It's a well structured adventure in which Eight and his companions battle to survive. It also neatly starts to give a few explanations of the nature of the Kro'ka and the world which he has been shunting the three companions around.
In all an excellent production with a real sense of danger and drama. 4 stars.
"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.
The Last is an interesting title to say the least. Not particularly Dr Who-ish but not so un-Who to put me off. Opening with what seems like the standard in the new season - a verbal exchange between the Doc and the mysterious Kro-Ka, this story benefits greatly from a spectacular sound crew. The world of Bortresoye is a dank and arid wasteland shredded by nuclear war and the music and sound effects present throughout pull all the punches in making sure you know that. The plot is slightly convuluted and the resolution is unfortunately quite unsatisfactory, but the voice acting is as usual superb - perhaps more than usual as a result of several plot points i don't wish to spoil. The theme is obviously anti-war and there is much discussed regarding the nature of humanity and its view on destruction, and we have the Doctor to thank for constantly hammering this message home. By no means my favourite of the Big Finish range but also by no means my least favourite, i would class this particular drama as a middle ground. Worth a listen, but there are other better ones you should obtain first.