This is the ninety ninth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five, Nicola Bryant as Peri and Caroline Morris as Erimem. It also features an unforgettable guest performance from James Purefoy as Vlad. Episodes are 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. There are interviews with cast and crew at the end of each disc.
Wow. This is the quality that Big Finish can achieve if they try. It's an absolutely classic release, that really makes a deep and lasting impression.
Five, Peri and Erimem arrive in 15th century Wallachia, into one of the most disturbing and impacting opening sequences ever. The trio soon find themselves mixed up in the local war, and in particular with the local King, one Vlad the third, AKA Vlad the Impaler, AKA Vlad Dracul, AKA Dracula. What follows in an adsorbing tale which studies relative morality and teaches us the real history of Dracula and the possible origins for the legends Bram Stoker would later embroider into his tale of a certain anaemic gentleman Count. It also delivers some very tense and gripping drama along the way.
Avoiding sensationalism and telling a tale rooted in historical fact (as far as can be determined!) this nonetheless delivers a thrilling tale. And the acting is superb. This sort of thing is perfect for Davison's Doctor, and he rises to the challenge playing the prattling fool who is wiser than anyone else around and with a deep compassion to an absolute tee. Bryant and Morris get lots to do as the companions, and Erimem in particular has a moving and memorable journey. The piece de resistance though is James Purefoy's malevolent and paranoid yet utterly charming and awe inspiring Vlad. It's a complex part and he wrings every last drop from it in a towering performance that will thrill and chill you.
An excellent tale, one of Big Finishes best to date. 5 stars.
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