Sunday, October 28, 2012
Voyage To Venus [6th Doctor, Jago & Litefoot]
This is corking good fun.
The Sixth Doctor goes to Venus in the company of Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter). Once there they find themselves involved in all kinds of magnificent machinations.
The story has a Victorian sf element to it but with a dash of humour: Jules Verne meets Mark Twain, which befits the use of Jago and Litefoot. It also draws on lots of Jon Pertwee era Venusian jokes. I particularly love the Venusian lullaby joke at the end so well done Jonathan Morris for that bit of writing.
Actually Jonathan Morris should be praised for a generally excellent script that exploits the vocal skills of all the actors concerned whilst doing a fine job of making The Doctor, Jago and Litefoot sound right. The bombastic vocabulary of Jago in particular just rolls majestically by in audio but as a trio they're fondness for and beautiful handling of language is theatrically magnificent. It's like being gently assaulted by a thesaurus. These are experience actors having fun with good lines. It must have been great fun to do.
Balancing out the gentlemen are Juliet Aubrey as the Empress Vulpina, who has secrets to protect, Catherine Harvey as Felina and Charlie Norfolk (which is a great name btw) as Ursina. Mainly because it is Venusian females that we get to meet. The male ones are...well...less talkative shall we say.
It's nice to have a Big Finish story as fun as this, although that isn't to say there's not a lot of ideas buzzing away in here: on evolution, on colonialism, on men and women, on war and the causes of wars and on (human and animal) rights. Nothing too heavy or obvious but it is there. It's not just in-jokes about the Pertwee era.
I'm always aware with my blogs on the newer Big Finish releases that there is a severe danger of spoilers so they tend to be shorter than usual for I fear that if I keep writing I'll spill some terrible secret, which ruins someones entertainment.
I'd use the word 'romp' to describe this if that didn't seem like a pejorative Doctor Who can't always be dark and threatening but doing a more light-hearted story takes careful handling for fear it can slip into something that's just silly. There's an art to it and Jonathan Morris seems to have that art.
I also listened to the first episode of 'Countermeasures' today. I think I'll blog on that when I've listened to them all. I will say that based on this first episode, 'Threshold', is does feel (and sound) like the sort of series ITC would have made if they'd been allowed to do a Doctor Who spin-off. Very creepy too.