Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 4/22/19 2:47 pm
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.
'Monsters of Gokroth' starts off a new trilogy of Seventh Doctor stories that see the return of Mags the werewolf from the TV story "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". Her journey on a planet terrorized by a mad scientist and a forest full of monsters sets up a Gothic tale that brings fateful reunions, nasty encounters, and hidden surprises. A monstrous fight is about to begin and the Doctor and Mags are about to be caught right in the middle.
It's a grotesque, creepy, and often times horrifying story that plays with the 'who is the monster' premise exceedingly well. There are plot points from all sorts of other horror stories such as "Frankenstein", "The Island of Dr. Moreau", "Nightbreed", and of course the titular 'Wolfman' that all sort of coalesce together into a messy but very entertaining whole. If monster movies are your jam, then this audio is really going to appeal to you as Matt Fitton's script revels in the tropes, atmosphere, and plot points of the genre in all its forms. Over the course of the adventure, there are enough large scale fights, paranoia, creepy castles, and rowdy townsfolk with plenty of surprises to keep any horror fans or Doctor Who fans happy.
The cast is pretty good though there are a couple of weak links that do stand out. It's nice to hear Jessica Martin back as Mags playing a conflicted character struggling with her condition but still a good person at her core. Sylvester McCoy's Doctor almost takes a side role in the story but is still as good as ever and there's a surprising amount of depth and sympathy brought to Andrew Fettes' Gor that makes his ultimate fate heart-breaking even if it is appropriate given the story itself. However, Victoria Yeates' mad scientist character doesn't quite work in regards to what the story is trying to be. By herself, she's ok and she fits the image and theme of the story. But the higher tone of her voice and her weaker personality is a sharp contrast to what she's supposed to be and she's easily the weakest character despite having a cool design on the cover.
There's also a side element with another traveling menagerie led by a mercenary monster hunter played by Jeremy Hitchen that ties into the main plot but still feels a bit unnecessary. I honestly didn't want another circus-like group in the story as 'Greatest Show' trod that particular path exceedingly well with these characters but that's in many ways what we're given at times especially with silly-sounding generic monster voices. By the end though, it's hard not to have fun with this story as truths are revealed that lead where you'd expect them to and Mags and the Doctor are officially pulled together. It makes 'Monsters' a very enjoyable story both on its own and as the start of new adventures with ties to the old and plenty of potential to be mined in the new.