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< 189. Revenge of the Swarm
191. Signs and Wonders >

190. Mask of Tragedy

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10
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9
5%
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8
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6
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6
23%
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Average Rating
5.9
Votes
40
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: LorcanReview Date: 5/16/19 4:38 pm
1 out of 3 found this review helpful.

The doctor, ace and hector land in 421 B.C ancient greece and encounter the playwright aristophanes who the doctor has met before and is his sponsor. A plague is ravaging athens and the spartan army is marching towards it to conquer the city while the tyranical leader of the city, cleon tries to hold onto power.

When the doctor and co land in athens they discover that the people of athens are well aware of aliens and time travel as the city has become a tourist spot for those that possess time travel technology. I thought that this was an interesting idea and i really wish that the story did more with the idea. The main plot of the episode is that one of the alien visitors to athens has a psychic mask that he uses to hide his alien appearance but the mask starts to malfunction and cause problems for the people of the city.

I thought that the plot was kind of weak in this story, it seems as though it was trying to be a comedy as the story was a sort of love letter to greek theatre. However there were only a few funny moments and because it was trying to be a comedy characters didn't seem to be taking certain things seriously when they really should have been. Ace also isn't very well characterised here and like the previous story she trusts the doctor completely as though the events of afterlife and gods and monsters never happened. Hector gets the best moments in this story and again we see how he is different from hex and how he is sick of being compared to hex by the doctor and ace.

Overall this story suffers from a weak plot, a one dimensional villain and an incosistent tone however there are a few standout moments and i liked aristophanes character and hector also got a few good moments. Not an awful story but definetley a weak one.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 2/9/19 6:47 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This story finds the Doctor, Hex, and Ace landing in Athens just as the city is about to be overrun by the Spartans, and the Doctor visits Aristophanes, whose comedies he's helped sponsor. Meanwhile, a mad dictator tries desperately to hang on to power.

The story is kind of all over the place. It's a comedy, it's a tribute to the power of the theater at the place of its birth. It varies how well all of these parts work off each other, but enough of it does work, particularly some of the comedy, to make it a worthwhile and fun listen. Philip Oliver has some great moments as Hec crosses swords with the Doctor over what the right to do is. Overall, not great, but okay
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
3
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
5
Replay Rating:
NR
Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: BlueboxReview Date: 2/14/18 9:48 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

I’d guess this story is supposed to be a bit of fun, but it just isn’t. There aren’t really any funny lines and there’s a lot of serious things happening that the script doesn’t seem to want to take seriously.

The plot with the zombie plague doesn’t get much of an explanation. I’m not sure if it was linked to the mask or not.

The acting wasn’t great in places either. Hector wearing the mask wasn’t great to listen to but Ace was quite cringy.

I don’t think Sophie Aldred can really be blamed entirely, some of the delivery is but over the top but she’s written badly so what else can she do?

Quite disappointing overall and this Hector Trilogy doesn’t actually know what to do with him. They should have got rid of the character in Afterlife and just moved on.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 10/16/15 7:09 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

'The Mask of Tragedy' was written by James Gross, who also wrote 'The Scorchies', 'The Time Museum' and 'Last Post'. All three of those titles are Big Finish productions that I have enjoyed immensely. So, I was excited to hear this one. Which is also directed by Ken Bentley, who has done some great work on the 'Fourth Doctor Adventures' series. In the extras it is mentioned that the real Aristophanes did have a real mysterious sponsor unknown who was a Doctor.

The Doctor decides to show Ace and Hector ancient Athens in the year 421 BC, and pays a visit to his old friend Aristophanes. Athens has become a nexus point for time travelling aliens such as Tyrgius. Whilst there our heroes encounter: a plague, an invading horde of angry Spartans and Cleon the tyrannical ruler of Athens.

Richard Fox and Lauren Yason's musical arrangement is obviously going to be more limited by the setting, but the ethnic/historical music is bright and vibrant. The sounds used are also very realistic and during the fight scenes don’t swamp out the actor's voices, meaning you can still hear the dialogue perfectly well. Ken Bentley's directing is also spot on.

Sophie Aldred's 'Ace' seems to have turned into a 'Scrappy-Doo' type character. The dialogue offered by the script is mostly very good, but I really think Big Finish need to allow Ace's character to progress and mature more and Sophie needs to realise that shouting isn't acting. At one point Cleon has Ace thrown out of the city (can't blame him to be fair), only for her to return with an army of Spartans. There are some good characters and acting in this but Cleon, although played brilliantly by Alisdair Simpson, is also a one note irritant. Philip Oliver was also very good as Hector, and perhaps had the more challenging scenes. The cliff hanger to the third episode is a case in point. I think that to get the full impact from this you should probably listen to the first in this loose trilogy of stories, 'Revenge of the Swarm'. McCoy also gives an assured performance. Aristophanes is presented as a down on his luck playwright, and portrayed superbly by Samuel West.

Throughout this there is a struggle between the Doctor and Hector, each with their own idea of what is right. The Doctor also has to explain to Tyrgius, who happens to be a healer, that healing people in the past is not a good idea because of cosmic balance or something. The Doctor tries to explain that saving lives in the past and thus changing history does more damage than good and ultimately is “irresponsible”. Which all makes sense, but the way it comes across in the story is a bit of a strange moral, especially coming from the Doctor. After the battle is won, there is a finale scene that acts as a cliff hanger for the final part of the trilogy, 'Signs and Wonders', where the Doctor and Ace argue with a jaded Hector about whether seeing history in the making is shows the grim realities, or is actually a thing of wonder. This is an interesting theme that crops up throughout the story, and just highlights what a complex story it is, but as an experience this play is totally unengaging at times.

This starts off with an upbeat feel to it and a framing device that is supposed to imitate ancient Greek plays. Both are dropped very quickly. The story isn't the most engaging but it's well directed with good pacing and dialogue. What lets it down is the writing from James Gross, this isn't his best work and I guess I just expected more. There is some really interesting stuff about whether it's right to change history, but it isn't new and just gets drowned out by Ace's shouting.