01/05/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: GBP14.99 (UK), Download: GBP12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-544-0) cast: Colin Baker, Maggie Stables, John Pickard, Bernard Holley, John Banks, Andree Bernard, Chook Sibtain, Peter Forbes and Duncan Wisbey
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
In the long ago, Jon Pertwee as Doctor Number Three did battle with a blob and a golden man. This much is known by me and the story was ‘The Claws of Axos’. The golden man was part of an entity called Axos and he and it returns in ‘The Feast of Axos’. Bernard Holley reprises his role as the golden man. Some of you oldies may also remember Bernard from ‘Z-Cars’, a realistic BBC police procedural series from the 1960s. Now it’s 38 years on (and it hurts me to say that) we hope that Mr. Holley is still getting the royalty cheques from the original.
This time it is Doctor Number Six (Colin Baker) and companion Dr. Evelyn Smythe (Maggie Stables) who happen upon a time loop which is keeping the Axos vampiric plant out of harm’s way in a low orbit above the Earth. But the Earth is desperate for power and Campbell Irons (John Banks), a canny billionaire, funds a spaceship to explore whether Axos can be persuaded into a partnership. As the Doctor and Evelyn are still accompanied by Thomas Brewster (John Pickard), there are bound to be different complications. This pickpocket seems to veer the wrong side of the morality divide but Evelyn firmly believes he is bound to be redeemed. The Doctor is not so sure and Axos thinks it might have a valuable ally in Thomas.
The diverse companions meet up with the team sent to negotiate with the blob. Joanna and David think they are working for the good of humanity but their boss, Campbell Irons, safely on Earth, has his own agenda with Axos.
Colin Baker does an able job of being both himself and a part of the Axos. He is convincing as the bubbly-aired actor of the 1980s with his more abrasive side being given to the Axos clone.
‘Feast Of Axos’ manages to cram in thoughts about friendship, age, responsibility and loyalty in the space and action-adventure story. There is sadness, despair but also wonder and amazement as Evelyn takes her first space-walk. Some of her best moments are ones where she is almost alone in space and her monologue is very moving. How different the new Doctor is when it seems perfectly OK for Matt Smith to hold onto Amy’s ankle as she ‘flies’ outside the TARDIS.
Much of the power of the audio is, of course, in the small interactions between characters. The necessary exposition and blatant explanation of what would be visual phenomena is usually beautifully wrapped up in naturalised dialogue. This is where the little tics and foibles of the characters are inserted to give us an insight into the how they might react. Getting the voice right is a good start before the dialogue. There are a couple of French astronauts that come out as a little too ‘Allo, Allo’ for me. That niggle aside the drama seems to work well in its confined locations. I am sure it might well compel listeners to seek out the original TV story to put some face to the blob, as it were.
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