Monday, March 25, 2013

Big Finish - Creatures of Beauty

This title was mentioned during one of the talks at Big Finish Day 3. It sounded very intriguing so I went straight to the sales desk and here, from May 2003, comes Creatures of Beauty, written and Nicholas Briggs.

The planet Veln has been ravaged by an ecological disaster, Nyssa is in an interrogation cell, an alien race called the Koteem are trying to interfere, and the Fifth Doctor must work out what has gone wrong and who are the real villains?

With a hero who travels in time it is perhaps obvious that some of his adventures might occur out of order as it were, and he might have a mixed up, "timey-wimey" way of looking at events. The clever concept of this drama is to tell the story in non chronological order. We jump straight in about half way through and only later discover how Nyssa and the Doctor got where they are, and the global events that have provoked the crisis. By the end of the fourth act we have all the pieces of the jigsaw and can rearrange them to solve the mystery.

Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton have to sell us the confusion and still deliver the key moments of the plot, and both are up to the task. I like Davison's Doctor and wish I had been watching during his television run. David Daker is very impressive as Gilbrook, although I thought he was Peter Sallis when I first heard his voice. I also enjoyed David Mallinson as the conflicted psychiatrist and interrogator Brodlik.

However the real star of this show has to be Nicholas Briggs who as well as writing and directing, also did the sound design and music. I liked his gentle but eerie musical cues which suited the mood of the piece perfectly. Mr Briggs also does the alien voices and plays half a dozen minor roles. He must have had a very busy couple of days back in 2003!

I confess I may not have got all the pieces of the puzzle straight yet but I did enjoy this story and its weirdly disturbing feel. 4 out 5 alien landing pods, but 5 stars for Nicholas Briggs himself.

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