Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 4: The Ghost Watcher

Starring Kathryn Leigh Scott and Alec Newman

Written and directed by Stuart Manning

In which Collinsport is visited on All Souls’ Day by one Nathan Hawkins, self-proclaimed vampire hunter, serpent slayer and ghost watcher, whose seemingly well-intentioned actions nevertheless lead to trouble for the town’s residents…

While it may star the same actors as Clothes of Sand, The Ghost Watcher could hardly be more different. Taking place in 1971 after Dark Shadows originally ended, it features an older, wiser and wearier Maggie Evans, returned again from Windcliff and now owning the Collinsport Inn, courtesy of her former employers, the Collins family. The frequent subject of small-town gossip, she resignedly keeps a low profile – until Nathan Hawkins checks in.

Chipper and brimming with excitement for the wonders of life (and the afterlife), Nathan is a far cry from the Sandman for Newman; he even gets to use his native Scottish accent for once!

Despite herself, Maggie finds herself drawn to Nathan’s comforting presence, and accompanies him on a jaunt to Eagle Hill Cemetery, where she witnesses wonders she never expected to see. But all too soon, the wonder gives way to unease and dread as the balance between the worlds of the living and the dead become increasingly unbalanced…

Listeners hoping for a Ghost Hunters-style investigation of Collinsport – much as the concept appeals – will be disappointed. Instead, we get a low-key budding romance between the two leads which somehow seems credible despite its abruptness, as well as a welcome examination of the townsfolks’ many coping mechanisms against the supernatural. And refreshingly, The Ghost Watcher offers a glimpse of a more redemptive afterlife than the one that most Dark Shadows characters are usually consigned to.

Verdict: An intimate (in many senses) tale finely performed by those involved – albeit one whose twist ending can be seen coming from quite a distance…  7/10

John S. Hall

Click here to order The Ghost Watcher from Big Finish.

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