1/04/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies
Doctor Who Companion Chronicle: Peri And The Piscon Paradox by Nev Fountain. pub: Big Finish. 2 CD 120 minute story. Price CD: GBP 12.99 (UK). Download: GBP 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-505-1) cast: Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
This story might be called the Tale of Two Fishes but ‘Peri And The Piscon Paradox’ is more than that. Something strange is happening and if you get embarrassed by your mother’s behaviour then imagine how excruciating to meet the older and wiser version of yourself. Where did you get those shoes, those attitudes, that gun…?
It appears the unscrupulous Piscons are trying to steal water from Earth and the blond floppy-haired Doctor (Colin Baker), the Fifth to you, takes companion Peri (Nicola Bryant) back to Earth to attempt to solve the problem. The shopping mall in Los Angeles, 2009 AD at first appears to Peri like yet another corridor in a spaceship. The polluted environment is nasty but for Peri its nearly home. Her anticipation of the thrills and expectations about the future are about to be shattered. She considers the paradox of the overly fat and the overly thin. Luckily, it appears there still seem to be shoe shops. Unluckily, the Doctor is attacked by a seven foot fish.
This twin-hander is novel in that there are two Peris or rather there is also Dr. Perpugilliam Brown who is double the age of Peri and has lived in the school of hard knocks. I can relate to the elder who is slightly preoccupied by the pertness of her younger self and jealous of the life she is yet to live.
This addresses the problems of continuity that arises from what exactly happened to Peri in the 1980s TV series. The Doctor loses her at one point but there are possible futures that are never entirely cleared up. I like to think she was having warrior babies with the impossibly LOUD Brian Blessed rather becoming the bald, mad dictator who ended up dead.
There is a lovely combination of the personal story of Peri and her older self combined with a bizarre semi-comedic plot about the giant fish. Told in two parts, it is satisfyingly wrapped up in a very competent manner.
Once again, this is much more than a two-hander. It has great sound and music, supplied by Jamie Robertson, and an appearance by the Sixth Doctor that puts the second half into a whole new arena. The first half, as told by young Peri, is an exercise is being perplexed by both the older Peri and a series of unfortunate events. The second half is an exercise in deception, word play and consequences. Somewhere along the way it becomes a semi-tragic homage to Peri and her future past.
All in all this is a triumph of both the writing by Nev Fountain, the direction by John Ainsworth and the ability of Nicola Bryant to talk both to herself and about herself. For the older viewers of the TV series there are enough references to Peri’s attributes and personality to make them smile in fond remembrance. For anyone without the history, there is plenty to take on and enjoy.
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