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Dark Shadows Curse of the Pharaoh by Stephen Mark Rainey

01/11/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Dark Shadows - Curse of the Pharaoh in the USA - or Buy Dark Shadows - Curse of the Pharaoh in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 75 minute story and extras. Price: CD: GBP 9.99 (UK), download: GBP 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-383-5) stars: Nancy Barrett and Marie Wallace.

If you are going to cook then make it ham and ‘Curse Of The Pharaoh’ manages to take that ham and roast it. This audio book features Carolyn Stoddard (Nancy Barrett). She’s had an unhappy life and sadly lost her husband, love of her life, Jeb Hawkes, in the process. The whole story was complicated by the interference of the Leviathans, a race who used to rule the earth before humans

Carolyn now lives with her mother at Collinwood, who has recently recovered from the illness brought on by her belief that she killed her husband. When Gretchen Warwick (Marie Wallace) arrives on their doorstep, she proves to be very persuasive. Warwick claims to be a renowned Egyptologist but as most of her fame was derived from marrying a more famous professor, Carolyn is understandably cynical. Caroline cannot understand what is happening but soon Gretchen Warwick is confiding her plans of power. She wants to bring her own husband back from the dead and offer to help Carolyn bring back Jeb. As the plot thickens, Carolyn finds herself drawn back to another time. She experiences waking visions of Egypt as it was 5000 years ago and her own role in a long-gone dynasty.

As Gretchen prepares to lift the veil between life and death, Carolyn must decide where her real loyalties lie and how far she will have to go to save herself and maybe Jeb, too.

If you’ve got this far then you are well-in to the nuttiness that is ‘Dark Shadows’. It ran for so long on American TV there is hardly a barrel of plot devices it has not scraped.

It’s difficult to maintain a two-handed contest between two females as the hormone levels run high. Think of Joan Collins and Linda Crystal bigging it up in the fountain and you might get the idea. There are large egos at work here and the audio brawl is highly entertaining and high camp.

With a quirky narration and a southern drawl, there’s a lot to like here. With irony, passion and melodramatic highs and lows, Nancy Barrett carries most of the story as this is a dramatic reading rather than a full cast play but as I said above she is ably complemented by Marie Wallace. I think that ‘Dark Shadows’ could easily become addictive.

Sue Davies

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