A very different kind of Torchwood story from James Goss for this second release in Big Finish’s revitalised version of the Doctor Who spin-off, very much a two-hander between Gareth David-Lloyd and Lisa Zahra that’s well directed by Scott Handcock. (It’s a bit of a misnomer to call it a full cast audio, but then again there’s a “music suite” that is simply a piece of music that you will be – deliberately – heartily sick of by the time you reach the end of the disc!)
Goss’ forte is character pieces and in this he’s obeying the old TV dictum of having plenty of action going on as a background to the character discussion. We come into the story in media res, with Ianto already the only person capable of doing anything aboard the SkyPuncher (which rapidly should be renamed the SkyPlunger!) – and then he gets a call trying to sell him insurance. That sort of cold call is the bane of many people who work from home but in this case, it’s a lifeline of sorts for Ianto as he builds a rapport with Turkish call centre worker Zeynep that becomes critical as some horrible truths dawn on the pair.
David-Lloyd sounds as if he’s never been away from playing Ianto (rather than saying goodbye to the character six years ago), and all of the character’s repressed feelings about his relationship with the rest of the team are exposed – with Goss not hesitating to nail one of the dichotomies at the heart of Ianto, with regard to his former lover. Lisa Zahra is a new name to Big Finish (as far as I can see) but hopefully we’ll be hearing a lot more from her – she puts a great deal into this production.
The sound design from Neil Gardner has to overcome a fundamental problem in the script, in that we only hear Zeynep on Ianto’s phone, but Gardner does sterling work ensuring that she’s audible (when appropriate) and the events on the spaceship are also clear. Blair Mowat’s music is similarly appropriately used – it’s not an action heavy script, but those few moments are good (and I’d’ve liked to have heard some of that in the “suite”!)
Verdict: Another strong Torchwood tale. 9/10