Reviewed By: baticeer
Review Date: 12/11/13 9:32 pm
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.
I decided to listen to this after hearing a panel by Nicola Bryant at a convention in which she said this was one of her favorite Big Finish stories that she had done, and that when it came to Peri's ultimate fate, this was "canon" in her mind. Glowing recommendation indeed! On top of all the good things I'd heard from fandom, that made me check it out.
Make no mistake, this is a tour de force of a story. It blends together outrageous comedy and deep emotional intensity to have you laughing one minute and crying the next. It gives great depth to Peri such as we've never seen on television and Bryant's performance is amazing. I also loved Colin Baker in this and the mental image of the Sixth Doctor wearing a giant fish costume is my new favorite thing. The way this deals with Peri's departure makes perfect sense to me and I agree that it is now my own canon for what happened to her after Trial as well. However, I didn't love this quite as much as everyone else does for a few reasons.
*** SPOILER WARNING!! *** I recommend you don't read the next two paragraphs, especially the second one, unless you've already heard this audio. It is an experience that you should have without knowing how it ends already.
First of all, the depiction of American consumerism felt too jokey. Too many jabs at plastic surgery and too much mocking of beauty standards. It's really uncomfortable to hear older Peri describe a woman who is supposedly her personal friend, as looking like a fish due to plastic surgery and being extremely airheaded and stupid. It made me less sympathetic towards Peri to think that she would be friends with someone whom she apparently looked down on so much and secretly make fun of her appearance constantly. Being an American Southerner myself, I wish the author had dialed back on the tired regional stereotype of a dumb blonde shallow "redneck" woman from the South. For a story that plays so heavily with people not being what they appear, I wanted more depth for this character and never got it.
My other complaint is the emphasis on Peri's childlessness. Young Peri says that her biggest dream for the future is to have kids one day, and older Peri's tragic backstory involves her becoming unable to bear children. I never got the feeling from Peri in the TV series that she was a particularly maternal character, she never shows a love for children or anything like that. It seemed slightly gratuitous. Not only is Peri going to have an abusive family life, we are going to make it extra traumatic because she can't have kids! I think older Peri's tragic experiences were tragic enough without adding this "wants kids more than anything" characteristic that she never seemed to have.
***SPOILERS END HERE***
So those are my two major complaints about this story, but that said... it's still really, really good. Almost pefect. You'll laugh AND cry, and you'll be surprised by the twists. I would say this is essential listening for anyone who likes Peri, heck, even anyone who hates Peri and wants to have their mind changed!