Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 16: The Death Mask

Starring Jerry Lacy with Lara Parker

Written by Mark Thomas Passmore, Directed by Darren Gross

In which eccentric millionaire Harrison Pierce is murdered during a weekend party at his isolated island mansion, and disgraced lawyer Tony Peterson (Lacy) must reluctantly join forces with his nemesis Cassandra Collins (Parker) to discover who murdered his client  before all the other guests are killed in similarly creative ways…

Jerry Lacy’s first Dark Shadows character, Tony Peterson became an unwitting pawn in Angelique’s present-day schemes (she was posing as Roger’s new wife Cassandra at the time). Tony soon faded into the woodwork once Cassangelique had no further use for him, and his role as Julia Hoffmann’s lawyer played out its part in the narrative. Just the same, Lacy took a generic part and genuinely made something of it, leading quickly to his portraying the far more memorable members of the Trask family through the ages.

One definition of “sitcom” is “two people who can’t stand each other, trapped in a room together”; this definition suits “audio drama” quite aptly as well. Lacy and Parker spark off each other nicely, especially when Tony vents on Cassangelique for ruining his life and career in Collinsport. And although the premise seems to promise Angelique doing a “Jessica Fletcher turn”, it’s actually Tony who does the gumshoe honours, with Angelique reluctantly providing backup, pointing out flaws in his deductions, and slapping hysterical women with satisfaction. Consequently, the end result is Nick and Nora Charles with a dash of Sapphire and Steel.

It’s a good thing that their chemistry carries so well, because the murder mystery itself is a tad basic – more of a “whydunit” than a “whodunit” – with the perpetrator’s identity rather obvious from the get-go. Perhaps if this had been a fuller-cast audio instead of a two-person affair, the other characters would’ve come across as more three-dimensional than they ultimately do.

VERDICT: The murder mystery may be elementary, but the lead characters’ caustic chemistry pays off in spades. And with a new Tony/Cassandra audio drama due in late January 2012, this looks like the start of a beautiful partnership… 7/10

John S. Hall

Click here to order The Death Mask from Big Finish

<<< Audio 15: The Blind Painter


One thought on “Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 16: The Death Mask

  1. “Dark Shadows” as “Sapphire & Steel”!

    Posted by Chad Moore | February 28, 2012, 6:57 pm

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