Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 11/15/15 5:18 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
'The Cold Equations' is a two hander with Peter Purves and Tom Allen playing 'Oliver Harper'. It's a sad wistful tale. Oliver is a city trader from London 1966 and was introduced in 'the Perpetual Bond'. An odd but ingenious choice of new companion. You would benefit greatly from listening to Oliver's trilogy of stories in order: 'Perpetual Bond', 'Cold Equations' and finally finishing with the 'First Wave'.
Steven and Oliver are trapped in the remains of a satellite floating above a shattered Earth. Running out of time Steven asks Oliver for full disclosure of the event’s leading up to this point and gets what he asked for.
The chime like music playing softly in the background with a slow beat creates an ethereal frosty atmosphere as it introduces us to the story and it's a shame this disappears after the opening titles, only reappearing occasionally. Instead it's replaced with noises that set the background like creaking printers or bubbling air purification systems.
Peter Purves impersonation of Hartnell adds an impish caricature of the Doctor's voice when he reads Bill's lines - sans fluffs. Purves is very capable but Tom has a much more interesting and fresh character. Tom’s performance captures the feel of the sixties in the repressed tones of Oliver's voice filtered through a Received Pronunciation accent. Oliver is a fascinating character as he feels so out of place but at the same time being made for this production. Oliver adds an air of mystery to proceedings and is a very English companion. To be honest I imagine that his stuffy character would be too similar to Hartnell's Doctor to be a long standing arrangement, but as a more Mayfly character works.
Oliver reveals his secret, a very human secret and the scene handles it with real pathos. It’s a deeply emotive moment, and touches on issues of the time.
More of a traditional narration and it's a relief that Tom is here to alleviate that. Very few actors in the range have captured the voice of the respective Doctor, Hines is probably the best but even he manages to only do it intermittently. Coupled the slower style of storytelling with Tom's voice only punctuating the narration occasionally throughout. Despite a slow start there is a lot here to hold attention and provide interest. The science aspect is surprisingly good and works well. A very respectable effort and an above outing for the range.