Dark Shadows: Review: Big Finish Audio 7: The Wicked and the Dead

Starring John Karlen and Jerry Lacy

Written by Eric Wallace, Directed by Darren Gross

In which Reverend Gregory Trask (Lacy), entombed in Collinwood’s West Wing in 1897, is visited by the spirit of his late brother-in-law, Carl Collins (Karlen). Does Carl bring potential salvation for the conniving clergyman, or is he leading Trask further into damnation?

The longest-lived of Jerry Lacy’s various Trasks, the Reverend Gregory was a real piece of work – arranging to have his dour wife murdered, then courting Judith Collins, marrying her for the family fortune and then using his late wife’s spirit to drive Judith mad so he could become Master of Collinwood. However, as this audio drama reveals, Gregory was very much a product of his upbringing. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that the Trask family tree is a particularly stunted and twisted one and leave it at that…

Pairing up Trask with his short-lived prankster brother-in-law makes for an odd couple, but we all know that odd couples make for good drama. For Carl has returned to show the Reverend the error of his ways, and his clowning soon takes on a more macabre turn as he begins laying into the hypocrite. Karlen correspondingly notches up his performance to eleven, seemingly trying to channel Cesar Romero’s Joker from Batman and probably leaving bite marks all over the sound booth in the process as he chews the scenery with gleeful abandon.

Jerry Lacy is considerably more restrained as the near-death Trask, but this serves to make his outbursts all the more memorable as the scales are ripped from his eyes and he comprehends just how wretched he has become…

Verdict: While the script hinges on Trask being rather too willfully ignorant of the consequences of his actions during the 1897 Flashback, The Wicked and the Dead succeeds in making the listener sympathetic to even this contemptible character. 7/10

John S. Hall

Click here to order The Wicked and the Dead from Big Finish


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