Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 15: The Blind Painter

Starring Roger Davis with Nicola Bryant

Written by Jonathan Morris, Directed by Nigel Fairs and Darren Gross

In which a sanitarium’s new nurse (Bryant) takes a special interest in one particular patient: Charles Delaware Tate (Davis), an artist who can create incredible, almost life-like works of art – despite being completely blind…

Another “fill-in-the-gaps” story, The Blind Painter explores the background of Charles Delaware Tate and reveals him to have been a literal starving artist in a New York City garret until he got the break he so desperately wanted, despite his considerable lack of talent.  A discerning art collector named Eloise Verinder (Bryant again) believes he has potential, and seemingly thanks to her, Tate can produce masterpieces – but only of her!

Without giving too much away, the answers to how and why this is, form most of the rest of The Blind Painter, and while satisfactory in their own right, they do bring up questions and irregularities regarding the role that Tate plays in Quentin’s immortality during the 1897 flashback sequence.

Although oftentimes bland in his Dark Shadows roles, Roger Davis’s performance has improved with age, and he underplays it to good effect, his husky whisper lending a needed urgency to the proceedings. For her American characters, Nicola Bryant initially adopts her standard “Peri from Doctor Who” accent. As a result, one could be forgiven for thinking that Miss Brown had somehow jumped a “Big Finish product line track” and wound up in the Dark Shadows universe by accident.

Minor quibbles aside, The Blind Painter is an effective dramatic mystery that broadens the canvas of the world of Dark Shadows, and paints a fuller portrait of some who sometimes came across as more of a two-dimensional plot device than a proper character in his own right.

VERDICT: If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it… 7/10

John S. Hall

Click here to order The Blind Painter from Big Finish

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