Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 12/5/15 8:24 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
Antidote to Oblivion: The slimy, sycophantic, sadistic, skinflint slug: Sil is a child of the eighties, and in more ways than one. Obviously, Philip Martin created the character for 'Vengeance on Varos' at a time when Yuppies and Thatcherism was rife. This is set in the 2380s, however, and like the 1980s business and corruption is the prime concern of many. Would Sil - who also appears in 'Mindwarp' and 'Mission to Magnus', and this audio recognises them both as canon - have been as successful as a character if it wasn't for Nabil Shaban, though? A Sil story is much like a Peladon story. It's a pre-requirement that they include certain elements, and Philip Martin has packed in all the usual tropes associated with one of his stories: bleak dystopian future, elements of body horror and, of course, Sil.
The most exciting feature of this story, for me, is that is we have Sil appearing in a Big Finish main range story after the rather tepid affair that was, 'Mission to Magnus', and that Lisa Greenwood is back as Philippa 'Flip' Jackson. A complete juxtaposition between the Visceral Sil (who is certainly no evil genius) and the natural warmth of the uncomplicated and candid companion, Flip. Put both those elements together with the consummate professionalism and experience of Colin Baker and the interplay between their characters is the biggest strength of this audio production. Yet, it's the poor characterisation and writing that lets this down.
The acting and characters of the supporting cast are dull lifeless cardboard cut-outs, and Flip's characterisation is awful. Her dialogue is terrible and lifeless. One minute she uses terms like, 'amazeballs' and, 'mingin'; she mentions having here critical faculties shut down and uses the word 'reminiscences'. Reminiscences, is hardly an esoteric term I know, and I don't expect the character to be dumb, but her use of language seems to veer between formal and informal. You can almost hear Philip Martin placing the words in the character's mouth. Pan sells out the Doctor and Flip, much to the dismay of his girlfriend Cerise, and then has a change of heart and do the right thing later on, apparently apropos of nothing – at least I wasn't terribly convinced, anyway.
This is steeped in unnecessary continuity, the pace is often sluggish and the resolution is classic deus ex machina. Martin has brought up the events of 'Peri and the Piscon Paradox', why? Anzor is back, why? Actually the question shouldn't be why is Anzor back, as he hardly features, but why bring him back in the way that they did and why is he constantly saying, 'Fiddlesticks'?
Flip's appearance in, 'The Last Adventure' box set showed how bubbly and wholesome Lisa Greenwood's character can be, but here she is given standard companion dialogue and much the same treatment that Peri had in the eighties. In the hands of a strong character writer, this story would have so much potential. Instead, we are served reheated eighties fare. Traditional or nostalgic, will depend very much on your personal tastes, but for me, this is still second best to 'Vengeance on Varos'.