Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 3/26/17 3:33 pm
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In The Jago & Litefoot Revival, Act One, Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) is addressed the Club For Curious Scientific Men, about a recent adventure he had alongside his old friend Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin). These events will take the listeners from London to Greece, for a series of disparate events that led to the revitalization of their lives. And along the way, Jago and Litefoot run into the old friend who brought them together... an old friend, with a new face. The Jago & Litefoot Revival, Act One is an incomplete story, but what we're given is still a rather strong story. With a couple surprisingly affecting character moments for Jago and Litefoot as they meet this new Doctor, and an absurd, funny story, narrated excellently by Benjamin and Baxter, The Jago & Litefoot Revival, Act One comes as a surprise, delivering a strong story, once again marrying Classic Who elements with New Who elements, to great effect.
In a first for the Short Trips range, The Jago & Litefoot Revival, Act One features two actors narrating for the story. Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter reprise the roles they first played forty years (and one month) ago, as Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot, respectively. Benjamin and Baxter are practically Big Finish royalty at this point; part of one of the most successful spin-offs Big Finish has done, Benjamin and Baxter bring their excellent skills to the Short Trips range, and the listeners and Big Finish is all the better for it. Baxter takes the lead in this story as Professor George Litefoot, as he recounts his character's tales in Greece. Jago & Litefoot works so well due to the excellent chemistry and comedic skills between it's two leads, and Baxter plays the straight man so damn well. His skills are on full display here, as he effortlessly coaxes a strong performance out of Benjamin, while simultaneously delivering a strong, grounded performance as Litefoot. Consequently, Benjamin delivers a strong performance as well, though one that's just a smidge smaller than that of his co-star. Benjamin chimes in as Henry Gordon Jago on occasion, interrupting the story of his friend to inject a bit of laughter into the story. Benjamin makes the moments look effortless, like it really is two friends, one giving a lecture, and other interrupting to add his own reminisces about the events, and the story is better for it.
The story itself is presented very atypically from the rest of the Short Trips range, acting more like a Companion Chronicles release in it's execution. Writer Jonathan Barnes wisely chose to let Jago and Litefoot be as characters here in this story; a lesser writer may have asked that Benjamin and Baxter simply do the same thing that most other Short Trips releases do, and simply read off a script, giving a little extra flavor to the story here and there. But Barnes decided to basically write a two-man audio drama here, complete with the sound effects of the hall where the two men are presenting their findings among other places, and the story is really elevated by that fact. On top of delivering a story that was atypical in format, Barnes also delivered a solid, if incomplete script. This is clearly intended to be listened to over the span of one hour; while I like the call backs to some of the Classic era, with a serialized release, I can't help but feel that the story suffers just a little bit for it. However, it's as minor a niggle as one can get, and to be quite honest, the story is (to borrow a phrase from Jago & Litefoot) corks. I quite like how Barnes separated Jago and Litefoot, and had each of them separately encountering the Doctor; Jago at the Regency Theatre with an alien spider infestation, and Litefoot on the shores of Minos, about to be besieged by ghostly gunslingers. Those two scenes actually lead to two of the story's finest moments; the moment that Litefoot realizes the man he's been seeing on Minos is the Doctor is a wonderful bit of acting by Trevor Baxter, supported by a wonderful bit of writing by Barnes. Similarly, the moment when Christopher Benjamin's character figures out the man is the Doctor is another strong moment, more comedic than affecting here, but nonetheless strong. All of this together, mixed with the excellent framing device that Barnes created for this story, lends itself to a story that is extremely enjoyable, even if it is somewhat incomplete.
Overall, The Jago & Litefoot Revival, Act One, while it is an atypical story, still stands out as one of the best things to come out of the Short Trips range. It was extremely well-acted by the two leads, Trevor Baxter and Christopher Benjamin; Baxter and Benjamin share an excellent chemistry that elevates nearly every story they're a part of. Similarly, writer Jonathan Barnes wrote an excellent script with this release; while it feels understandably incomplete, the story we're given is nonetheless a strong outing for Jago and Litefoot. With an engaging story about Jago and Litefoot apart, but connected, a fantastic framing device, and, of course, two excellent leading performances, The Jago & Litefoot Revival, Act One stands out as one of the best things to come out of the Short Trips range. It is a triumph for the range, and an excellent celebration of 40 years of Jago & Litefoot.