“As for making a difference, I don? think we really influenced anything at all”

With the renewal of BIG FINISH? contract to release new, original audio drama, we can all breathe that these pictureless classics can keep jumping out at us each and every month. CREATURES OF BEAUTY is another slice of original WHO that, despite the fact it? not the new series (2005 is so FAR AWAY!!!!) it pushes the boundaries of the format and ensures this release won? be forgotten easily. BF seems to have been playing around with chronology of late- FLIP FLOP tells a tale along two different time streams while COB tells a story that follows a linear pattern- its just not presented that way. We open near the end then siege into the first half – or as it would have been, told from the TARDIS landing to the TARDIS leaving. This isn? a mindless gimmick though- if the plot were related to us in sequence, we would know too much too soon, spoiling a great adventure that is packed with mystery and thrills when told in this non linear, almost lyrical format. Nick Briggs writing ensures (somehow!) we stay with him even when were listening to things near the ?nd?of the adventure. His script is dark and brutal, affording a chance for the normally easy going Fifth Doc to show a side more typical of his brooding Seventh life.

When I reviewed NEKROMANTEIA, I slammed Peter Davidson for being ?lat? I take this back- Davidson is probably the best actor the WHO canon ever had (Syv McCoy is still the best though!!) and since March has gotten into my top three timelords along with Troughton and obviously McCoy. He is just a great as he was on TV here- as mentioned above, he is more introspective, not really like him but it? side to him that just wasn? seen on telly- that doesn? mean it was never there! Sarah Sutton makes a nice return as Nyssa, finally given space over Adric? wining/dying or Tegan? mouth. The character is shown as suitably tragic- after all her father was killed and then subsequently used as a host by the Master who then went on to destroy her home planet! The rest of the cast is excellent- David Daker? Gilbrook is a complete bastard, while the Lady Forleon is played with suitable grace by Jemma Churchill.

CREATURES OF BEAUTY is an innovative, clever play. While a tad dull in places its never less that totally engrossing, and the sting in the tail climax comes out of the mist and shocks the hell out of you. Mature, gritty, dramatic, COB is a fluidly written, quality work- well worth a listen.

WHO? NEXT? Both Colin Baker (yay) and Sylvester McCoy (double yay) star in PROJECT LAZARUS. . . . FOUR OUT OF FIVE ]]>

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