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This release from the Dark Shadows line is something a little different. While it still features the occult and the eerily creepy atmosphere that Dark Shadows normally possesses in spades, Speak No Evil is much more of a character piece. It's therefore a refreshing change from usual Dark Shadows fare, even if it stumbles a little bit on the final act.
One thing that really makes this story enjoyable is it's standalone nature. Anyone who's never ever heard of Dark Shadows before can easily pick this up. That might leave hardcore Shadows fans put out, but if you enjoy good, engaging character drama, you'll probably get on fairly well with this release. Both Tad Collins and Marie Olson are fascinating characters: both put up fronts to protect themselves from their dark pasts, and, as the episode wears on, we see these fronts fall away. Scott Handcock doesn't shy away from the usual Dark Shadows themes and content completely, however, and the ending employs some occult magic in a very dark twist, that, while feeling more Twilight Zone than Dark Shadows, feels totally appropriate. This is backed up by two strong performances from Arthur Darvill and Katharine Mangold, particularly considering neither is actually American, yet put on very convincing accents.
The only issue with this episode, in fact, is that, while the first two-thirds of the story are fairly slow burning, the final third seems to deposit a lot of plot upon the listener. However, that doesn't detract from the fact that, for the most part, Speak No Evil is a tightly written, excellently acted character piece that manages to do something different with the Dark Shadows format at Big Finish.