Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: 4th Doctor Adventures 4.2: The Darkness of Glass

DW4D402_thedarknessofglass_1417Trapped by the tide on an island with a very eclectic group, the Doctor and Leela must discover the truth about the greatest Magic Lanternist of all time…

This new series of Fourth Doctor stories may be set in the post-Hinchcliffe period, but it’s worth remembering that two of the most atmospheric stories of the Baker/Jameson tenure were overseen by Graham Williams – Horror of Fang Rock and Image of the Fendahl – and Justin Richards’ taut audio fits neatly in with those tales. There’s a certain amount of the setting of the former (something acknowledged within the story), and the presence of overwhelming evil from long in the past of the latter, but moulded together in such a way that this feels like a companion piece, rather than a homage (or worse, a rip-off).

A lot of that comes from the deftly drawn characterisation, not just of the Doctor and Leela, but also of those they encounter on the island. We get a clear picture of them all very quickly (helped by some clever doubling up by the actors – most are playing multiple parts, although you wouldn’t necessarily guess as much unless you look at the cast list on the back of the CD), and there are sufficient twists and turns in the script that you may be unsure about the identity of the villain longer than normal in this sort of story. It’s a surprisingly visual story but there are important auditory clues and Jamie Robertson’s sound design ensures that we hear what we need to at the right time.

Verdict: A fast-paced yet creepy supernatural story – just right for a dark and stormy night… 9/10

Paul Simpson

 

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