“Evelyn?m sorry? don’t always winT
It would appear that time lords are like buses. You wait a whole month for one to appear, only to get two at once. This is true in the case of the new Doctor Who release- Project: Lazarus, which stars both Colin Baker as the sixth Doctor and Sylvester McCoy as Doc number seven. This is all well and good, but in the past multi Doctor tale have seldom been the best- they often suffer from plot holes, lack of focus and under-baked supporting characters, because the writer hopes to gloss over a naff plot because their books/shows/scripts features more than one Doctor, so we should all enjoy it and forget story cohesion.
But is the above true of Project Lazarus? WellU for starters, P:L is effectively two separate (but linked) tales packed as one feature. The first disc features the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn (and the Colin Baker theme) and no Sylv McCoy. The second features Doctor number seven (companion-less, with his own theme though) AND Bakers incarnation of the timelordUsort of. I cant elabourate without blowing a key plot device, but it’s a nice spin on what I expected from this play.
Plot wise, this leads on from Project: Twilight, a previous sixth Doctor/Evelyn adventure. I got through the play (just about) without having listened to this plays predecessor, but its worth noting that prior knowledge of Twilight will help to clear things up (you can find the plot synopsis on www.outpostgallifrey.com). The main crux of the first disc involves a character from Twilight, Cassie, a vampire who the Doctor returns to about three years after Twilight ended. The timelord and Evelyn have returned to her to cure her of a virus she has picked up, but as they find her all is not as it seems. From here on the secret organisation known as The Forge (again, from P:T) and its leader Nimrod are mixed in, and from the end of disc one, things really pick up.
What struck me about this disc is how disturbed I was on listening to it. The scene in which Nimrod tortures the Doctor to try and make him regenerate is chillingly horrific. Hearing the normally cool and controlled hero screaming in pain, whilst Nimrod looks on coldly is genuinely harrowing. As is the end of disc two- not a cliff hanger, but hearing Evelyn’s sobs and the Doctor trying to comfort her is a truly dramatic moment, one that still sticks in my mind.
However, following these dramatic moments, disc three begins with the seventh Doctor. While he is my favourite incarnation of the timelord, parts three and four are a bit too samey. There are some very interesting moments, and a great spin on what we expect from a double-Doctor tale (which im not sure this is) i.e two Doc’s APPEAR togetherU. Problems that are apparent with the last half of P:L is that some things happen too easily (the ‘sixth Doctor’ getting past high tech security systems by impersonating Nimrod struck me as far too convenient) and that Nimrod is actually a pretty boring villain. Following on from The Dark Flames very British villain, Nimrod just bored me- he had little motivation to do what he did apart from ‘being evil’. He felt to me like a cheap rate Bond villain (showing his prey around the Forge to then attempt to kill him) and Stephen Chances performance was pretty dull too.
However, plus sides are the dual nature of the story, the inter-linked but somehow separate plot threads being interwoven, and the chance to make a comparison between the pretty nice Sixth Doctor and the darker Seventh. Both McCoy and Baker are truly brilliant and give a lift to the proceedings. Overall an original idea to get two Doctors together.
ANY GOOD?: The plot is solid, but the villain isn’t. Oh well, the real drama, the doubling up of Doctors and some interesting twists on the expected multi Doctors format is very clever. As well as advancing plot- P:L sets up a few things between Evelyn and Doctor #6 in the future, the play achieves that rare accolade- a Doctor Who story with more than one of our favourite timelord, that’s actually pretty good.
WHO’S NEXT?: Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford star as the Seventh Doctor and Mel (AHHGHHH! MEL!) in Flip-Flop.