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"And the clock strikes out for the death of Venice!",
This review is from: The Stones of Venice (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
"The Doctor and Charley decide to take a well-deserved break from the monotony of being chased, shot at and generally suffering anti-social behaviour at the hands of others. And so they end up in Venice, well into Charley's future, as the great city prepares to sink beneath the water for the last time...
"Which would be a momentous, if rather dispiriting, event to witness in itself. However, the machinations of a love-sick aristocrat, a proud art historian and a rabid High Priest of a really quite dodgy cult combine to make Venice's swansong a night to remember. And then there's the rebellion by the web-footed amphibious underclass, the mystery of a disappearing corpse and the truth behind a curse going back further than curses usually do.
"The Doctor and Charley are forced to wonder just what they have got themselves involved with this time..."
Paul Magrs' The Stones of Venice is a story with a setting that could prove extremely evocative (cf the classic film Don't Look Now) and a strong guest star in the late Michael Sheard (who played the headmaster in Remembrance of the Daleks). However, it doesn't entirely live up to its potential.
Stones is a cluttered story with a lot of different facets to it - this is both a strength and a weakness. It also features two overacted parts (Elaine Ives Cameron puts on a very strange voice as Ms Lavish, and Mark Gatiss is a little too Royston Vasey as the cult leader Vincenzo). The Big Finish sound design, usually so evocative, becomes irritating after we have heard the same rumbling and party noise backdrop for an hour or so.
On the other hand, the story is imaginative, and features a "twist" at the end that is enjoyable even if not entirely unforseen. I don't, however, feel that the subplot of Charley and the gondoliers attempting to deceive Sheard's Duke Orsino was entirely necessary. And why do all the characters have English accents?