I’m not sure if there is a proper collective noun for a load of curveballs, but one needs to be invented to describe Nev Fountain’s script for this first reunion of the Sixth Doctor and Peri in the main Big Finish range in far too long. Yes, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant have recorded Lost Stories – and incorporated those into the canon – and there’s been the highly effective Peri and the Piscon Paradox, but no proper trilogies.
Baker and Bryant clearly relish the opportunity to take their characters’ relationship forward beyond the TV stories – pretty much everything up to now, of course, has been set pre-Mindwarp – and they’re backed up by a quintet of actors who make it feel as if there’s considerably more of them than there are. Fountain’s writing is sometimes witty, sometimes acerbic, but often deeply moving.
It’s a story that demands not to be spoiled – the twists and turns are breathtaking, and Fountain expects his listeners to go along for the ride. If you thought Mindwarp was confusing, then get ready for a whole new level to be added to that story!
However, director Ken Bentley ensures that despite the constant changes in direction and outlook, you never feel uncertain as to what’s actually happening at any precise moment – a lot of things come out of left field, and don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense initially in the grand scheme of things, and you’re constantly aware that you may not have all the information that the characters have, but you could stop the disc at any point and be able to chart how you got there from the start of the story. In particular, everything you need to know about the earlier TV adventure is recapped as necessary, and there are also the required flashbacks to the Doctor’s path to Krontep.
Verdict: A convoluted but ultimately satisfying adventure. 8/10