Third in the latest series of audio plays featuring Paul Mcgann as the Doctor and Sheridan Smith as his companion Lucie Miller. This story is complete on one disc in two episodes of roughly twenty five minutes duration each, followed by interviews with cast and crew and a trailer for the next release in this range.
The story also stands entirely on it's own so you can get into this without having heard any of the earlier ones.
Set in the black forest in 1827 it's like something out of the brothers grimm. A small town in the woods is being terrorised by a monster. There are chases through woods. A castle. A Baron who knows more than he's telling. And a mob of angry villagers.
Although this uses familiar elements it's a great listen because it uses them all so very well. The supporting characters and the actors who play them are all very good, the atmosphere of the story is superb. And the two leads have some great chemistry and lines together. I could probably listen to this many times and still discover great lines I've forgotten.
Whilst it slips into more conventional Doctor Who territory in part two, after some surprising revelations at the end of part one, it's still highly entertaining anyhow. There are some decent ideas on display here and a few clever references for those who know german literature and legend.
Best in the season so far and really worth a listen
After Hothouse (see previous review) this is a much more successful number with a cast that clearly enjoyed what they were doing (as exemplified by Miriam Margolyes).
The plot is set in the Black Forest and has many in jokes (unfortunately mostly german) and a Hansel and Gretel / Frankenstein plot with drops of the Government Inspector for good measure. There is plenty of gruesome murder / castle action and burgemeister pomposity to keep the plot bubbling along.
The plot manages to avoid being entirely one-dimensional and although (as far as I can tell) being entirely stand alone finds everyone well 'in the groove'.
First released in 2009, this is the third episode of the third season of standalone releases for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor outside of the monthly range of Big Finish releases. This is a one disc release, with two 25 minute episodes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the disc.
This range has had its ups and downs, and I am pleased to report that this is definitely one of the ups. The Doctor and Lucie arrive in the German Black Forest in the early 19th Century. Just, it seems, as the legendary Beast of Orlock and the local evil Baron are returning to the region after long absences. What follows is an exceedingly fun tale with some dark moments that draws on the Brothers Grimm and the Dracula and Frankenstein legends. I don’t want to go into plot details for fear of giving anything away, but for a fan of the old Universal and Hammer horror films such as myself this was a wealth of delights. Added to which is a simply brilliant performance from both McGann and Smith, who relish the humour and darkness of the script. McGann in particular has some fun, especially at the cliffhanger ending to episode one, where he seems to be as frightened of the bad pun uttered by his adversary as by hid impending doom. This one also has a great supporting cast with star turns from Peter Guiness and Miriam Margoyles.
An outstanding story with an atmospheric setting and some of Big Finish Production's best dialogue in years. (The Doctor's working out the date in part one is especially marvellous.). 'The Beast of Orlok' feels like a two-hour idea forced into a one hour straight-jacket but is nonetheless a joy from start to finish: a superb villain (Peter Guinness) with a superb lead (Paul McGann); exceptional sound design with exceptional music (both Andy Hardwick); great dialogue with great direction (both Barnaby Edwards); all absolutely stunning. Part one is a perfect example of how 'scary' and 'entertaining' don't have to be mutually exclusive and part two is no let down, managing a coherent tying up of ends without ever putting a break on the entertainment.
Brilliant, scary fun. Isn't that what Doctor Who is really all about?