Since October 2013 I have been reviewing Big Finish audios for www.planetmondas.com - and now all my reviews are collected here, please take your time to have a read.
Sunday 31 July 2016
DARK SHADOWS - ECHOES OF THE PAST
Like a bus, you wait ages for a Dark Shadows special release and then two come along at at the same time – but there the similarity ends, there Blood and Fire was a lavish bodice ripping period piece this release takes a much quieter approach – hardly any incidental music, minimal sound effects – Echoes of the past goes the “unplugged” route of just an actor, a script and a recording booth. Four stories about four integral characters to the Dark Shadows saga, Reverend Trask, Quentin Collins, Maggie Evans & Angelique Bouchard with each of their stories read by the actor that played them in the TV Series – Jerry Lacey, David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott & Lara Parker – the Trask story is actually written by Jerry Lacy.
The stories are all stand alone and centre on the character telling the story, but there is a thematic unity flowing throughout, themes of loss, regret and ambition. The stories are:
Trask The Exorcist by Jerry Lacy
A penniless and desperate Trask sees an opportunity when he is invited to perform an exorcism on the daughter of a local farmer – but during the exorcism he makes a bargain with the forces he has sworn to oppose to further his own ends. Track is a thoroughly despicable character, pious, cruel, small minded and a hypocrite of the highest order – everything he does in “Gods name” is for the greater glory of Trask and having the actor who played him on TV write and perform this story ensures it is in safe hands – Jerry Lacy does not pull any punches in painting a picture of the sort of man Trask is and the depths he will stoop to to further his own greedy, selfish ends.
The Missing Reel by Ian Farrington
Quentin Collins sits in a bar in Los Angeles in 1958 and is met by Eddie a film journalist and collector of old films. There is one film in particular he has become obsessed with, a classic of the silent era, a film about a Werewolf which has eight minutes missing and Eddie has traded the movie down, because the last remaining print with the missing 8 minutes still intact has just been purchased at auction by Quentin Collins. One man, David Selby as Quentin and a cracking script – I was transported back to a smoky bar in 1958, I could see the haze of smoke, the swirling ceiling fans, the sweat on Eddie’s brow, I could almost smell the cigarettes and whiskey. This is a cautionary tale and as Eddie finds out, its sometimes better NOT to know…..
Lunar Tides by Philip Meeks
Wistful and melancholy with a definite autumnal feel – Maggie Evans is looking forward to watching The Lunar Tides – a time where the moon is so strong that it takes the sea out a mile from Collinsport bay – but a visitor to Maggie’s hotel brings with her a mysterious mist and a plague and has a secret past linked to the earliest visitors to the new world. Kathryn Leigh Scott gives a very human reading of this story, her obvious love of the character of Maggie shines through.
Confession by Paul Phipps
The leading lady of Dark Shadows Angelique Bouchard rounds off this set of stories. Lara Parker gives a dramatic reading completely in character as she gives her confession. She tells story of her love of Barnabas and the extremes she has gone to protect him even when he didn’t know she was there. Angelique has an obsession with Barnabas that goes beyond love into the realms of mania, possessiveness and self destructiveness, because as much as she loves him, he doesn’t love her back.
Small scale, character based stories with a great deal of depth, interludes in the lives of our protagonists, but in a strange way defining for them. An Echo of the past, but an echo that will cause ripples for the future 8/10.