Top critical review
One person found this helpful
on 9 August 2007
another audio adventure for the sixth doctor who, this time with bonnie langford's mel as his companion. as usual with audios that mel is in, the character is written so much better than she ever was on tv and bonnie langford shows what a good actress she is with decent material.
The wishing beast is a three part story, in which the doctor and mel are drawn to a strange world by a message inviting travellers there. two elderly sisters live on this planet, and they have an offer for one of the tardis crew. but things like this usually have consequences, as the doctor finds out when he meets the other inhabitants of the world...
this is a very strange mix of styles that attempts to do something different, throwing in arch comedy - the sisters coming over like the residents from the tv story paradise towers, nice but sinister - fantasy, ghost stories, and a bit of horror with it. as such it is not going to be to everyone's taste. and whilst the first episode is intriguing and quite well played, the pace of the story drops off a lot in the second, which seems to mark time waiting for the cliffhanger. an attempt to present a rather alien environment in this part doesn't quite come off as it feels a bit cliched.
however things do pick in the middle of episode three when the moral of the story comes into play, leading to a decent conclusion and memorable final scene. So personally I found this had it's moments, although it's ultimately a rather light and inconsequential piece.
The fourth episode on the disc is a one part story called the vanity box. unlike the other big finish releases that have been three parters and then a one parter this one parter doesn't stand on it's own and follows on directly from the end of the wishing beast. the tardis lands in salford in 1965, amongst some very interesting accents from the cast, and finds strange goings on in a beauty parlour.
the attempts at comedy are more successful here, particularly one scene that would have been interesting to see on the tv. the old lady of the piece is perhaps better characterised than the ones in the wishing beast, and there's again a decent moral to the tale. although I could have done with finding out more about the central threat.
both discs end with nigh on twenty minutes worth of interviews with cast and production staff. bonnie langford's parts are well worth listening to. although the ones at the end of disc one do give away scenes from part three.
so not the most successful release and one you'll either hate or like, but it has it's moments. I do agree with the other reviewer in regards to big finish this year, though, as apart from circular time they've really produced nothing that has desperately stood out. I hope they can come up with a classic or two again in due course