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Doctor Who: Solitaire

01/10/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: Solitaire in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: Solitaire in the UK

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Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: Solitaire by John Dorney. pub: Big Finish. 60 minute CD. Price: CD: GBP 8.99 (UK); Download: GBP 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-468-9) cast: India Fisher and David Bailie.

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Charley’s back! What could be wrong with the world? Except there’s a little problem, she doesn’t know she’s Charley and she doesn’t remember the Doctor and she’s trapped in a deadly game with the Celestial Toymaker. Not so good then.

‘Solitaire’ is set during Charley’s travels with the Eighth Doctor, so prior to her outings with Sixie. She enters a toyshop with no idea why and finds it impossible to leave. The shop owner shows her the line-up of ventriloquists dolls. They are the losers in the previous games and he has quite a collection. He then suggests she might like a game and shows her his collection. Before long, she has been tricked into a deadly game and the outcome is worse than seeing your cousin lose at Monopoly on a wet Saturday afternoon.

The delightful David Baillie reprises his role as the Toymaker and you can see why they brought him back for this two-hander. This is not just a ‘Companion Chronicle’, it is a play in miniature set in a claustrophobic toyshop and the walls are closing in. The Toymaker is acerbic and arch but he finds Charley is not just a pretty face. His tone is constantly changing and he subtly moves into the threat of violence which simmers around the edges of the drama. As the game becomes more intense it takes an unexpected twist as Charley vocalizes her own thought processes and moves. Maybe it’s just possible that you don’t need to be the Doctor to master the great gamer.

There’s a whole lot more than just role-playing in this latest ‘Companion Chronicle’ and it’s intriguing to listen to the dialogue as it is batted backwards and forwards between the two protagonists. The level of intensity rises and clues to the mystery are seeded into the words they exchange. It’s all about words and their power and this particular ‘Chronicle’ is a fine example of that very power.

Sue Davies

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