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(May contain spoilers...)
Reviewed By: kfb2014 on 5/2/16 4:05 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
7
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
Overall:7Plot:7Acting:8Soundscape:8Replay:8
A quality story, also showing off the acting talents of Carole-Ann to the full. The story is simple, but that does not mean it lacks any quality, in fact that is certainly part of the charm of the whole proceedings. The story, takes us on a journey through recall, recall that is told to us via spirit guide, a medium, which as anyone who is familiar with Who will know is quite at odds with the ethos and belief systems that the Doctor has, or indeed instils into others who are his companions or those who tag along. However the premises by Rayner is used to good effect here, as it allows the story in recall to be told, with great compassion and creates a distance between the now and then. It also demonstrates the way in which we can all be slightly misled and deceived by perhaps out own thoughts and conceptions along the way. The story has a gentle pace, and at no time do we really fear for anyone lives as we may have done in previous Who stories. But we what we do get out of this is perspective. That travelling with the Doctor, that he is never far away from Death.
Interesting with a strange charm.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 5/1/16 1:36 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
6
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
Overall:6Plot:6Acting:7Soundscape:7Replay:6
The story is good for the strong performance of Tom Baker and Liz Sladen but also is a a weaker installment in the midst of this strong era as it was the second story in the same season to deal with replicants replacing people (the far better Terror of the Zygons.) Still, there are some tense moments as well as a few very funny ones. Despite some uneven moments and a fairly forgettable alien enemy, there are some good performances and solid directing that makes the story watchable.
Reviewed By: thisoldcan on 5/1/16 4:54 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
5
Overall:5Plot:2Acting:6Soundscape:3Replay:1
The Curse of the Fugue is the first story since 2011's Eighth Doctor Adventures story To the Death to feature Sheridan Smith. It features the 8th Doctor and Lucie as they work to help a woman face the demons of her past amidst a power outage.

The Short Trips range is probably the most straightforward range there is. It's really a true audio book, featuring one person acting as the narrator. I personally haven't listened to any Short Trips before this one (I've still got the first 8th Doctor Short Trip waiting in the wings) and I'm not quite sure how I feel about them. On the one hand, it's really nice that they got Sheridan Smith back to voice Lucie, if only sparingly and for a half-hour. On the other, it was a pretty mediocre story, and I don't think the format quite suited the fanfare surrounding it.

Sheridan Smith is fine here. The moments when she's voicing Lucie again are excellent; it's like she never left the role. Her narration is good, if sometimes a bit indistinct, especially when she's voicing other actors. It's sometimes rather hard to figure out who she's voicing unless she specifically says something like, "'blah blah blah', said the Doctor".

As I said above, I found the plot fairly mediocre. It was an interesting topic that could've easily been a full-length story. But the length of the story was really detrimental; they had to wrap everything up fairly quickly, and it was rather unsatisfying to listen to. And there was barely any of Big Finish's excellent soundscapes in this story. There were a few sound effects and some very light music here and there, but it was overall just not a satisfying story to listen to.

Overall, I think the main draw of this story will be the novelty of Sheridan Smith returning (however briefly, though I suspect it's due to her extremely busy schedule) to the role of Lucie for the first time in 5 years and the low price point. For the price, the novelty, and the length, it's a perfectly fine story, if almost instantly forgettable.
Reviewed By: thisoldcan on 5/1/16 4:53 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
10
Overall:10Plot:10Acting:10Soundscape:8Replay:NR
The third act of Jago & Litefoot, Series 11 is a sort of ghost story. Featuring an old friend of Jago's coming to him for help with a fading actor, the third act is a great improvement over the previous two stories, with a great premise and excellent performances from all.

It goes without saying, but all the main cast are quite good here. Benjamin, Baxter, Bowerman, and Asquith are all excellent here as the main good guys. Beevers gets a little less screen time in this story than the last, but he's by no means any less menacing. The guest cast here is pretty great. Jonathan Forbes does a great job as Bram Stoker, the assistant of Sir Henry Irving, played by Edward de Souza. I particularly liked de Souza's performance here; I always wonder if it's difficult for actors to act terrible on purpose, and boy is he truly terrible here as the fading Sir Irving. Robbie Stevens is good here in his multiple roles, and Maggie Ollerenshaw is good in her role as Dame Gussett.

As I said above, I think the best part of this story was the plot. A nice twist on a ghost story; rather than the ghost being a truly evil thing, it's instead just a hologram. I thought it was a nice idea to have the "haunting" just be an alien spaceship that's been underground for thousands of years. Simon Barnard and Paul Morris did a fantastic job with the script, writing a story that was funny, creepy, and affecting all at the same time.
It's also nice to see the Master's plan finally come to fruition here. As I said above, I feel that this release is a major improvement over the idea of a "featured character" in a release. It's nice to see the little windows into the Master's goings on. It's a nice way to break up the story and actually tie the whole story together.

Overall, the third part of the story is the best yet. It's a great story with excellent acting and some wonderfully touching scenes as an old actor tries his best to stay relevant.
Reviewed By: thisoldcan on 5/1/16 4:52 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
6
Overall:6Plot:6Acting:7Soundscape:6Replay:NR
Part two of the Jago & Litefoot, Series 11 box set features our titular heroes facing off against an alien threat that can shape shift into others. While the story had a lot of promise, I felt that the execution was confusing at times and really bogged down the story.

The main cast here is really quite good, but I've already given them a lot of praise here. The one character I left out however, Geoffrey Beevers' take on The Master, is as good as always. He's supremely creepy and cruel, and is just delightfully evil here.

One of my common criticism of a lot of recent Big Finish stories with a specially featured character (e.g. And You Will Obey Me, Doom Coalition 2) is that they promise us the Master or River or someone else, and then that character doesn't appear until the very end. It's a frustrating thing Big Finish has taken recently to doing; Doom Coalition 2 was probably the biggest offender of this, and was consequently dragged way down by that fact. But Jago & Litefoot, Series 11 doesn't fall into this trap. They feature the Master, however briefly, in each part, and it makes for a much more interesting story. It really gives you an idea that he's planning something big here or he's working behind the scenes, and we just catch little glimpses of what he's doing.

As for the guest cast, the only character of note here is Ravel, the bored, young composer who Litefoot takes a shine to. Andy McKeane does a nice job, especially when he's asked to differentiate between the doppelgänger Ravel and the real one.

As for the plot, while it was certainly an interesting plot, I felt that it was extremely confusing to listen to, personally. Maybe others won't have this same confusion, but I was under the impression that the alien threat was working for the Master, until the very end of the story. It totally changed the whole dynamic of the story, and I wish that they had made it a little more clear.

Otherwise, the plot was fairly interesting, but not terribly inspired. Doppelgänger stories tend to be fairly run-of-the-mill. It usually (as it does here) features the real one off with one group and the doppelgänger off with the other. Then they meet up, and no one is sure who's the evil one and who's the good one. It's a tried and true story, but it isn't terribly exciting.
While the story isn't exactly inspired, the soundscape really is. The soundtrack is fantastic, but the sound effects are really something; the sound effects in Ellie's bar really made it sound like they were in a packed bar. The use of sound and the lack of sound in the story were smart choices, used at just the right times.

So overall, while the story had the potential, it was just too much of a standard plot to truly be something more. It was lackluster, and even the excellent performances by the cast couldn't do much to elevate this story to anything better than 'meh'.
Reviewed By: thisoldcan on 5/1/16 4:51 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
8
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
Overall:8Plot:8Acting:10Soundscape:8Replay:NR
Barring The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Mahogany Murderers, and Jago & Litefoot & Strax, I haven't really delved into the lives of Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot all too much. Jago & Litefoot, Series 11 is the first time I've truly been immersed in their lives, though not for lack of interest. The box set starts out with a strong showing, with Jago meeting his supposed son, as a religious cult stalks the streets of Victorian London.

Of the few times of listened to Jago & Litefoot stuff, I'm always extremely impressed with how well Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter portray Jago and Litefoot. They seem like they've never left the role from The Talons of Weng-Chiang, and they seem to be having a wonderful time portraying these roles. I think my favorite part is there wonderful back-and-forth; Benjamin and Baxter both play off each other extremely well, and it's wonderful to see.
Rounding out the rest of the main cast of the first part are Lisa Bowerman as Ellie Higson and Inspector Quick as Conrad Asquith (as the website says XD). Both did a fantastic job here; I especially liked the hints to Ellie's true nature throughout the story (one that can put all of them in their place, given half a minute). Asquith was excellent as Inspector Quick, again reprising his role with ease.

As for the guest cast, the main players here are James Joyce as Jago Jr. and Rowena Cooper as Litefoot's archaeologist friend Jean Bazemore. Maybe it's because I'm an archaeologist myself, but I adored Jean Bazemore. She was such a fun character, and I really enjoyed Cooper's portrayal here. Joyce does an okay job her portraying Jago's son. It's a bit of a wooden performance, but it serves the purpose.

The plot of the first story was an interesting story, that I feel is well suited to the era. Satanic cults and mysterious deaths are fun things to listen to in the Victorian era. While I felt the story was a bit busy, I thought that writer Nigel Fairs handled most of the disparate threads fairly well. My only real issue was the conflict between Bazemore and the railway company, over her site. It was an interesting issue that wasn't really solved all that satisfyingly. I wish they'd have done more to maybe reference it later on, but that's not the case.

The starting story of the eleventh Jago & Litefoot box set is a fun little story. The main cast are old hats at their roles by now, and with an interesting story, the box set starts off reasonably well.
Reviewed By: thisoldcan on 5/1/16 4:50 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
9
Reviewer Says: Previous stories required!
Overall:9Plot:10Acting:10Soundscape:8Replay:NR
The final story of the Jago & Litefoot, Series 11 box set finally features the Doctor, Jago, and Litefoot confronting the Master, just as his plans are coming to fruition. But will the Doctor, Jago, and Litefoot be able to stop the Master, or was he planning on them coming to him? The final story of this box set is... fun! I don't know what it is, but after the last three more serious installments, this story lets loose a little and has a little more fun with itself.

All the major players are in full swing here. Benjamin and Baxter are wonderful as always as Jago and Litefoot, respectively. They get some great scenes, though I am sad they didn't get to bounce off the Doctor a little more. Bowerman and Asquith again get some great scenes here, especially with Quick's twist of not being under the Master's control in the end and the final scene with Ellie (more on that later). The one non-Time Lord guest star, Rachel Atkins as Madame Sosotris, is fabulously wonderful, doing a great job assisting Jago and Litefoot.

As for the Time Lords, Beevers' Master is as great here as ever. He gets a lot more time to put on his most menacing evil voice here, which is wonderful, because he just kills it here in every scene. As for Colin Baker, God love him. He puts on just about the most ridiculous accent you could ask, and I'm amazed that it actually fooled anyone. He is the real reason why this story is so fun; he brings an air of comedy to this story that the box set so desperately needed. I'm sad he didn't appear in any of the other stories, but he's great here.

The story here is quite good again. I wish they would've spent more time on the ending, as it felt as if it was wrapped up a little too quickly, but it was still quite good. I particularly liked the idea of mirrors sucking the energy out of Jago and Litefoot (even if the script made painstakingly clear that there was something fishy about the mirrors), and I liked the Master's evil plan in the end. I've also got to think that there's some relation to the current Two Masters Monthly Range trilogy with the whole "the end is coming soon!" line the Master throws at the 6th Doctor. Time will tell on that one.
Before I wrap this up, I want to discuss the final scene. Now, I don't know the full details on Ellie, but I know she was supposedly cured of her vampirism. That is clearly no longer the case. Who will the next villain be, and why is Ellie a vampire again? Was it the Master attempting to "cure" her of her anomalies? Or was it something else?

Overall, I found the final story to be good, if ending a little too quickly. It would've benefited from a bit more time being spent on the ending, but the end result was a suprisingly fun story with a great cliffhanger ending.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 4/30/16 9:24 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
9
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
Overall:9Plot:9Acting:9Soundscape:9Replay:9
The Forever Trap brings to a life a superb concept as the Doctor and Donna find themselves tricked into signing a lease for an apartment in a giant apartment complex known as the Edifice where creatures from across the galaxy are being kidnapped and forced together with often tragic results.

It was refreshing to get one of these novels that didn't merely try and tell a Base Under Siege story breaking up the Doctor and the Companion. Instead, we're treated to a great high concept story that's filled with mystery and plays it's story out to the hilt. Plus, it keeps the Doctor and Donna together the whole story and Catherine's Tate's reading really captures the wonder of that relationship. This story captures everything that made that relationship so fun to watch on TV and is a must-listen to for fans of this well-beloved TARDIS team.

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