Nigel Fairs returns to the character he created way back in the mists of time (ok, for the first volume of The Liberator Chronicles) for this story which uses Nyrron’s nature in an intriguing way. Although I’d advise listening to the first two stories in which he appeared (Solitary and Wolf) before embarking on this to get the full effect of the levels of deception and self-deception at play, Fairs provides sufficient explanation, particularly in the very unusual opening to the audio, for newcomers to get up to speed.
The title of the play, as has been the case increasingly with Big Finish’s B7 output, is full of double meanings, and by the end you will have gained some intriguing insights into the workings of the Federation and the way they view their past, as well as the private lives of some of the characters. (There’s one throwaway line which even could be used to explain the antipathy between Avon and one of the newcomers to the show in later series!) It ends on a similarly ambiguous note.
Unusually for the Chronicles, it’s a three-hander, with narration duties handled by Paul Darrow and Anthony Howell returning as Nyrron, and Antony Byrne providing an excellent foil for Darrow. Martin Montague’s sound design and Jamie Robertson’s music are meshed well together and Lisa Bowerman’s direction ensures that the various levels of the story are clear.
As with the best of these tales, the parallels with current life are present if you want to see them – and events in the US make some of the commentary here very prescient.
Verdict: A strong character-driven opener that shows how much humanity has changed in the years between now and then. Or rather, how little. 8/10