Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 6/10/17 7:26 pm
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In the third story of The Lives of Captain Jack, Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) is on his way back to Alonso Frame's (Russell Tovey)'s room for a night of passion and much more. But an alien attack on the starliner they're on puts a pin in those plans, as Jack and Alonso must work to stop the sinister Mother Nothing (Katy Manning) from stealing the largest diamond in the universe. One Enchanted Evening continues the trend of these stories feeling extremely rompy, with a fun, flirtatious romp between the three main stars of the story: Barrowman, Tovey, Manning. All three share an excellent chemistry, and act the hell out of this story. While Goss' previous story was a delight to hear, this story is closer to the first one, in terms of being extremely derivative of previous stories. It's still a fun romp, made mostly by the excellent cast, but the story itself is a slight letdown.
John Barrowman is back as Captain Jack Harkness, and he's joined by the brilliant Russell Tovey as Midshipman Alonso Frame. Tovey has been off doing his own things as an actor, so to have him come back was a surprise and a delight. He seems like he's a fairly big name star, and so for him to come to do a little Big Finish story was a intriguing. What we get from Tovey is an excellent performance, full of emotional moments, and a sheer joy in playing the role alongside Barrowman. Barrowman too seems to feed off of Tovey's energy and gives a great performance as well. I can't really settle on which part of Tovey's performance I like best; I quite like the flirtatious side of his performance, but I also like the more emotional moments towards the end of the story as well.
Joining the cast for this story are Katy Manning, nearly unrecognizable as Mother Nothing, the alien menace who comes to steal the diamond, and Ellie Heydon as Ginny, the ship's engineer. Katy Manning is an absolute delight in this story as the sinister Mother Nothing. She gets the chance to flex her villainous muscles, and seems to relish in the opportunity. It's helped by the fact that the effects on her voice make her nearly unrecognizable; it took me several minutes to figure out who this actor was, until they said the character's name. Even then, it was difficult to find Manning's voice in the performance. Heydon was also quite fun as Ginny, sharing quite a few scenes with Tovey, and really feeding off his energy too. I thought that the two shared a great chemistry as actors and, were this not Alonso and Jack's story, I could see their characters getting together.
James Goss' script, compared to his previous story, is a bit of a let down honestly. It was still and excellent story, but it was missing that something that made the previous story so excellent: some excellent character work. This was really a fun story, nothing more, and nothing less. And in that, it largely succeeded. I quite loved the jokes that were thrown around in this story, including one of the dirtiest jokes Big Finish has done in a Doctor Who related story, where Jack, having been yelled at by Mother Nothing about crawling around on his knees, yells, "I just do my best work on my knees!" back to her. That's typical of this saucy story, which features so many bawdy jokes and innuendo, that's it's a miracle that it got written and approved at all. But the heist-style plot falls a little flat for me, just because it's been done several times over. Not that it's a bad plot, but I was hoping that Goss would do something a little more inspired that having another person stealing another "largest diamond in the universe".
Overall though, One Enchanted Evening is a fun, rompy story. It doesn't do much more than that, giving us a fun little story where Jack and Alonso and Katy Manning get to run around, shouting one liners and innuendo at each other, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The cast does an excellent job here, with the three major players, Barrowman, Tovey, and Manning, all doing an excellent job in their respective roles. Likewise, Goss' dialogue is top notch, just like his previous story, but the story lacks the emotional bits that made his previous story as good, and the story itself has been done a few too many times for my liking. But overall, it was enjoyable, and a fun story, and that's to be admired.