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8.3
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9/10 6/15/17 7:38 pm
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7.9
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7.9
Story Count: 13

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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 1/31/17 1:10 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

In the final story of Graceless, Series 04, the Graceless Sisters find themselves at the oddest dance possible. Brought by Pool, the Graceless Sisters must reckon with their past, if they are to survive this last dance. But the faces from their past go back much further than they think.

To close out the set, Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington were both quite good here. Both did a lovely job here, really bringing their A-game to this final story. Janson in particular was delightful here, which was nice to finally hear after two rather lackluster performances in the previous two releases. And Doddington is still quite lovely as Zara, with her quieter performance. She has always really stood out in my opinion, but here, in this box set, she was just brilliant.

The guest cast is a slightly larger affair than the other stories. This story features the welcome return of Adam Newington as Pool, a being with similar power to Abby and Zara. I quite liked his performance in this story, as compared to his first story; he had some quality to his performance here that was lacking in his initial performance. I can't quite put my finger on it, but he came across as a bit more genuine in his performance here; rather than sounding like an actor reading lines, I could actually believe he was the character he was playing. Duncan Wisbey also has a small, but fun role as Graves, the leader of the dance party. It doesn't amount to much, but Wisbey does an admirable job here in his performance; I quite appreciate authenticity in an actor's performance, and here it's obvious that Wisbey was enjoying himself. Other than that, the other three guest members, Richenda Carey as Triangle and David Sterne as Oblong didn't really stand out too much for me. Carey did a fine job as triangle, specifically in the end, but was mostly blending in with the wallpaper, much like her co-star Sterne.

The plot is the weakest part of this final story, in my opinion. It was quite an interesting plot, with Pool going back and questioning all those Abby and Zara have met and hurt in this set, to see if what they did is something worthwhile, but I can't help but feel that this episode relied a bit too much on the cameos. I feel that we spent far more time than necessary on the cameos. They did amount to something quite interesting, but I overall felt that they spent more time making sure everyone got equal screentime, and less time actually developing the plot. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was a nice plot, with the Grace trying to figure out if it was worth it giving Abby and Zara life, using pool as his proxy. But it just fell a little flat for me, because of the lack of focus on Abby and Zara throughout the story. But I did find myself quite interested by the ending reference to the Doctor. I'm very curious what this means for the future of Abby and Zara with Big Finish. I'm hoping that they could return to the Monthly Range for a new trilogy of stories; it would be quite an interesting trilogy (the K3Y to TIM3 or something?).

One thing I've neglected to mention is the music of this set. Overall, the music of this set was very slight, and more or less blended into the soundscape, and not in a good way. However, periodically throughout, there would be jazz music playing or songs that could be pop songs, and they always add an air of authenticity to the audio. Especially in this final story, with the dance featuring a live band, this entire set felt quite nice music-wise.

Overall, The Dance was an enjoyable ending story. It was nice hearing the multitude of cameos from across the set again, and the reveal of Pool's true nature was a surprising and effective twist. Yet, I found that the plot was rather boring, suffering from it's focus on cameos rather than the main plot. It was nice to hear so many fun cameos, but it made this story feel almost like a "clip show" of sorts. But overall, it was an enjoyable ending to a strong set.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 1/31/17 1:07 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

In the penultimate story of this box set, Abby and Zara have joined the staff at the hospital, Space Dock. They've befriended some of their coworkers, they've become invaluable assets to the hospital, and they've even taken an interest in helping out some of their coworkers in the dating game. But what is their true reason for being there? Much like the previous story, The Ward is a pitch black story, but unlike The Room, the cast isn't as much of an issue in this story, making this the strongest story of the set so far.

Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington are much improved here, compared to the previous story. Janson is quite good here, with some strong scenes, especially in the dinner scene, but it's once again Doddington who steals the show. Doddington has a kind of quiet reserve in her performance; it almost feels intentional given her role in the original Key 2 Time trilogy as the "villain". But it really adds a layer of depth to her character that I quite like.

The rest of the guest cast was quite good, in a change of pace from previous stories. The main guest star was Carolyn Pickles as Gutierrez, the mentor to many of the doctors and nurses there. Pickles does a fantastic job, both with the cantankerous side and the kinder, softer side of Gutierrez, something that's admirable in its own right, let alone when done well. I also quite liked Dan Starkey's character Nurse Chaff, and his backstory (or future story, depending on how you look at it), as explained in the end. Throughout the story itself Starkey was strong and dependable, as he always is in most stories, and I found myself quite liking his character. The final cast member, Petra Markahm as Annie, was perfectly fine as the nosy janitor. I found myself sort of forgetting about her as the main plot with Chaff came to the forefront, but she did a fine job, especially in her confrontation scene with Abby and Zara after Abby's birthday.

The plot was also a highlight of this set, as Simon Guerrier delivered another excellent story. Much like the previous story, this one was similarly bleak in the end, but I quite liked the overall plot, and the slow unraveling of the mystery. It was interesting slowly hearing the story go along, and hearing the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. But the ending was just absolutely brilliant, with the revelation that all they were doing was the sacrifice of a few lives to save the lives of countless others. It was dark, it was bleak, and it made for one of my favorite stories from Graceless thus far.

Overall, I found The Ward to be the strongest story so far. It had a strong cast this time around, and an absolutely excellent mystery by Simon Guerrier. It was enjoyable, and the ending was both heartbreaking and exciting. It's one of the strongest Graceless stories out there thus far, and it was a delight to listen to.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 1/31/17 1:05 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The second story of the fourth Graceless set finds the Graceless Sisters in the midst of a bitter war. Seeking to put an end to the war, Abby (Ciara Janson) and Zara (Laura Doddington) try to force the leaders of the two sides to make peace, but they instead find themselves separated from one another. To win the war, they must come back together, even if that means make a difficult sacrifice. The second story of this marks a wonderful return to form for Janson and Doddington, with Guerrier delivering a bleak, nihilistic, high-quality story.

Once again, the original Graceless Sisters are back, with Ciara Janson as Abby and Laura Doddington as Zara. Coming off of Annie Firbank's and Siân Phillips' performances as Amy/Abby and Joy/Zara, I found myself a bit disappointed by these two. One big criticism is that it was sometimes hard to follow along with which character was which; there were times, when the characters were separated, that I had to keep looking at my notes that said which one was with which guest character, to figure out who was who. But the times that I could distinguish them, I thought that Doddington gave a fine performance, while Janson gave an alright performance. Doddington did well with the emotional bits of the story, while Janson was more just "there" with the story. Which is perfectly fine, but it made the story rather confusing at times.

Of the guest cast, the main guest stars here are Nichola McAuliffe as Comorant, Carol Starks as Slink, and Victoria Alcock as Marcella. McAuliffe and Starks act alongside one another and alongside Janson and Doddington for most of the story, and are particularly fun. I liked Slink a bit more, as her character felt a bit more down to Earth than Comorant, but I still quite liked both of their performances overall. Alcock's performance as Marcella was a smaller one, but a nonetheless important one, especially given the ending. However, much like the main cast, I found that no one really stood out too much; all three had moments here and there throughout the story, but by and large, it wasn't the best guest cast, in my opinion.

The plot, and Guerrier's script, was the strongest part of this release. It was a bleak tale of war and the dangers of interference. What I particularly liked about this release was the mistakes that Abby and Zara kept making, and how they had to keep going back to try and change it, over and over, until the very end. The end of this story, with Zara's calm recounting of the horrors that are about to be unleashed upon these people, was the highlight of this story, and a strong bit of acting by Doddington. Janson's horrified reaction to it is quite good as well, and I think that Guerrier's original script deserves thanks for the strength of that final scene; especially given how he chose to end it ambiguously (for now at least).

One very minor, yet extremely heartening thing I noticed in this story is that the vast majority of this set features female actors. It's a nice change of pace, especially given the current political climate, to see an almost 2:1 ratio of women to men in this story. This isn't so much a criticism or compliment, but more a heartening observation.

Overall, I found this story to be a strong, bleak story. The cast had some issues with characters really not standing out too much, but the script that Guerrier delivered was strong. It was an enjoyable second story, if not the strongest acted story on the planet.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 1/31/17 1:03 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The opening story of Graceless, Series 04 opens with a man (Adam Newington) coming to visit a sleepy little village on the brink of destruction. Looking for two mysterious women of legend, Abby and Zara, instead the man finds two older women who seem to know more than they're letting on. Long ago, Abby and Zara saved the world; now it may be time for them to save it again. The opening story of this set is a surprisingly strong opener; playing off the strengths of stars Annie Firbank and, in particular, Siân Phillips, with an enjoyable script from Guerrier, The Bomb works well as an opening, even if it is a bit safe at times.

Starting off as I usually do, the Graceless Sisters are back... sort of. Annie Firbank, playing Amy (Abby) is delightful here. I quite liked the one-liners that Guerrier gave to her character, and I thought Firbank sounded like she was having a delightful time throughout the entire story. But Siân Phillips is the real star here, mostly due to her getting the most screentime of the two special guest stars. But Phillips is really a delight here; she brings a sort of quiet, almost tortured aspect to the character that fits in extremely well with the character. But then she can turn on a dime, and make a joke that will leave you in stitches. It's a delightful performance, and it's my personal favorite performance thus far.

The other two members of this cast were Hugh Ross as Dodyk, the general leading the evacuation of the area from its impending destruction, and Adam Newington as Pool, the man who comes searching for Abby and Zara. Ross is a very distinctive actor, and is usually a delight in everything he was in; yet here, he didn't really stand out too much. It was most likely because of his smaller role (he was really only in the latter half of the story), or maybe because of the strong actors he was working with, but he didn't quite stand out for me. There was nothing particularly wrong with his performance; just nothing of note. Newington started off similarly, almost as a foil to Ross' character (occupying the first half), and almost didn't stand out. But his final scene, confronting Dodyk at the hospital is a wonderful little scene, and genuinely surprised me. Newington did a great job blending in with the scenery here, which made his reveal as a similar being to Abby and Zara at the end all the more surprising.

Guerrier's script was rather strong, if a bit too safe at times. I quite liked the plot of the impending nuclear explosion, as it obviously draws parallels with previous Graceless box sets. It was an interesting story, and one I didn't really find dragging at any point. The opening scenes with Amy's "illness" are a strong point for the opening, and the scenes towards the end as Amy and Joy try to save the world from nuclear destruction are also excellent, with Firbank and Phillips bringing Guerrier's script to life here. However, I did feel that the ending played out a bit too safe; I had no doubts that Janson and Doddington would be back by the end of the first story, in some way, shape, or form, but I was hoping for something a bit more inspired than the deus ex machina that we got. It was an ever so slight disappointment, and it made for a bit of a messy ending.

But overall, I did quite enjoy the opening story. Annie Firbank and, in particular, Siân Phillips delivered two strong performances, and Guerrier's script, barring the ending, was a perfectly enjoyable affair. I was skeptical when the set was first announced that Annie Firbank and Siân Phillips wouldn't be able to replace Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington, but now that I've heard them, I want more from them.

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