Put quite simply, this is the best piece of audio drama that Gary Russell has written, which provides a showcase for Alexander Vlahos and Katy Manning to show what they’re capable of. Although Manning has displayed her versatility in many performances for Big Finish and others over the years, this is the most believable and heartfelt I’ve heard, running the gamut on the roll of a die (or the placing of a tile, to keep the Mahjong references from the play going.)
One of the clichéd descriptions of the Fifth Doctor (and indeed the Eleventh) is an old man in a young man’s body, and of course this is a perfect description of Dorian, who still has the capacity to be surprised. Vlahos captures that ennui and world-weariness that vanishes when his interest is piqued.
I’m still very intrigued by who Dorian is confessing this all to – the finality of his last sentence implies he’s trying for some closure, but as this darkness continues to enfold him, what could prompt him to unburden himself? Hopefully time will tell.
Verdict: Get this for the Vlahos/Manning verbal duels if nothing else. 9/10