Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 18: The Carrion Queen

Starring Lara Parker and Jerry Lacy with Nigel Fairs and Lizzie Hopley

Written by Lizzie Hopley, Directed by Darren Gross

In which the Dark Lord (Fairs) makes the damned Angelique (Parker) and Reverend Gregory Trask (Lacy) an offer they can’t refuse – the first one to perform an utterly selfless act will get his or her soul back and return to the mortal world…

You might think that pairing up Lara Parker and Jerry Lacy again so soon after The Death Mask would dilute the potency of their interactions, but you’d be wrong. Their characters are such nasty pieces of work – supremely selfish and convinced of the justification for their actions – that their mutual loathing and continual one-upmanship is even more vicious (and delicious) than in that story.

However, even both of them are appalled to discover that the Dark Lord has deposited them on an American Civil War battlefield in 1861! Nor are they alone; amidst the carnage stalks a sinister, mysterious woman whose presence may hold the key to salvation for either the witch or the hypocrite…

Unusually, Lizzie Hopley “pulls a Mark Gatiss” by both writing and performing in The Carrion Queen, and does a commendable job on both fronts. Her script presents Angelique and Trask with a deceptively difficult conundrum whilst imparting both more background information about the reverend, and horrifying trivia about one of the Civil War’s earliest battles as well.

And while Angelique may be more intelligent, Trask could actually be the nastier of the two, justifying his sins in the name of the Lord and executing them with zeal and tenacity. Perhaps it’s because he’s more grounded in reality – and sadly, can be seen in more than a few “men of God” even in these more enlightened times.

Verdict: Dark Shadows veers into The Twilight Zone territory, with pleasing results, and an ending that seemingly dovetails into the next audio release… 7/10

 John S. Hall

Click here to order The Carrion Queen from Big Finish

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