Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 5/17/17 5:51 pm
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The Shape of Things to Come, the third story of Big Finish's HG Wells releases, features a man named Philip Raven (Sam Troughton) being visited by a woman from the future, Jane (Nicola Walker), who reveals that he is at the center of a series of events that will lead to the destruction of the future. Jane will take Raven through time, and show him history, so he can understand the shape of things to come. But what future will end up on top, and how can Raven help the timelines survive? The Shape of Things to Come is one of the strongest HG Wells releases to date. Featuring a brilliant script by Guy Adams that condenses HG Wells' dense and scattered novel into a tight, two-hour long story. Changing the story from a fiction textbook to a tight drama elevates the story, and the central performances by Sam Troughton and Nicola Walker further elevate this release, solidifying it as one of the best releases of the year thus far.
Sam Troughton and Nicola Walker are on rare form in this story. Troughton, portraying the original narrator Raven, is a delight here, swinging from confused to disbelieving to accepting so many times, it almost becomes dizzying. He takes on the role of the audience surrogate here, as he goes through this alternate future, and he plays that part well, growing as a character throughout. Nicola Walker is the highlight of this release though, giving a delightful performance as new character Jane, an emissary from the future tasked with showing Raven what is to come. Walker's performance in the first half of the story is a curious, paradoxical mixture of urgent, bored, and fascinated. Walker portrays the character much like the Doctor, from Doctor Who, as someone who knows exactly what's going to happen, and feels compelled to save the future, but also someone excited to see what actually happened. Guy Adams' script is the other highlight of this story, in which Adams updates and re-imagines the original novel as a dramatic story. This new style lends itself well to audio format, and his hard, difficult work pays off with an engaging, bleak story of a civilization at the brink of collapse. I particularly liked the cliffhanger ending of the first part, as it created an excellent bit of tension leading into the second half, and changed much of the meaning of the first half in the process. Apart from that, Adams did a fantastic job with the writing of the characters. The rapport the two leads share is delightful, and more quiet, emotional scenes, though partially due to the excellent actors, shine due to Adams' writing. Overall, The Shape of Things to Come is a triump. Guy Adams stated his difficulty in adapting this story for audio format, but the end product is a wonderful, engaging story that Adams, and all those involved in the story, should be extremely proud of.