with Lara Parker, Andrew Collins, Brigid Lohrey and James Unsworth
Written by David Llewellyn, Directed by Darren Gross
In which Tony Peterson (Lacy) recounts to Cassandra Collins (Parker) how he once caught the last train from Boston to Collinsport, and how it ended up being one hell of a journey …
While at first The Last Stop seems like it’ll be the latest Tony and Cassandra escapade, it quickly takes a darker tone (and turn) as it veers into The Twilight Zone territory. Having dozed off, Tony awakes with a start to find the train seemingly stalled in the longest, deepest stretch of tunnel along the route. He’s all alone in the dark, save for a chatty vagrant (Sheppard) who knows far too much about Tony’s life than he ought to. As if this wasn’t unsettling enough, Tony soon discovers that something lurks outside in the darkness, a something that will tear apart anyone trying to leave the compartment…
After the recent spate of sprawling epics, it’s rather refreshing for the Big Finish Dark Shadows audios to return to their simpler roots; one could easily envision The Last Stop as a cost-saving “bottle episode” chiefly concerning two characters trapped in the dark (or are they)?
A veteran of many genre TV shows and movies, W. Morgan Sheppard uses his gravelly voice to great effect here, suffusing even the most innocuous dialogue with an aura of discomforting menace. In many ways¸ his voice is the American equivalent of legendary British voice actor Valentine Dyall’s sepulchral tones, and further “appearances” by Sheppard in this audio range’s ever-burgeoning “repertory company” of recurring actors, would be most welcome.
Jerry Lacy once again does a quite capable job as Tony Peterson, an Everyman whose thwarted dreams and ambitions threaten to become his undoing. As always, Lacy imbues his performance with a world-weary decency that makes the character more likeable with every new appearance.
Some may argue that The Last Stop is a bit slow and overly talky. To these people I say, “What’s the point of a good scary story without sufficient build-up of tension and anticipation?”
Verdict: Another Big Finish Dark Shadows audio that’s on the right track… 7/10
John S. Hall