Review: Torchwood: Big Finish Audio 1.5: Uncanny Valley

TWAB0105_uncannyvalley_1417Jack investigates a man who has the apparent ability to be in two places at once…

David Llewellyn’s latest audio for the Torchwood range takes the series into some new areas, at least for this most recent incarnation, and shows just how well adult themes can be tackled in the format without being gratuitous. There are scenes between John Barrowman’s Captain Jack and Steven Cree’s Neil Redmond of cruelty and viciousness (the majority of it verbal) as well as sexual encounters that are not exactly ordinary, and which flow naturally from the story being told, rather than being added in, as it sometimes felt in the TV show (particularly Miracle Day). It’s a lower key story than some we’ve had in this run, and just demonstrates how versatile the format is: in many ways, this could almost be a stage play, with Barrowman and Cree’s performances pulling you in.

In his debut directorial outing for Big Finish, Neil Gardner puts his experience as a sound designer to good use – flashbacks are brought to life in multiple different ways, with very effective use of overlapping sound. As with the recent Schizoid Man episode of The Prisoner, sections of this story rely on one actor playing the part against himself, and while there’s some audio treatment involved, it’s the attitude of the “two” participants that make the scenes work so well.

The nature of the alien threat that Jack faces in this story will probably put you in mind of another Who monster rather than the Committee, and I’m half hoping that James Goss’ master plan for the season will incorporate them (particularly given the setting of Yvonne Hartman’s story last month…). There’s a major move forward in the ongoing plot towards the end of the disc, which puts a new complexion on various facets of the stories we’ve heard so far!

Verdict: Yet another strong Torchwood tale. 9/10

Paul Simpson

 

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