Saturday, November 7, 2020

REVIEW | Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - The Modern Prometheus adapted by Jonathan Barnes (Big Finish Classics)

Recently I picked up the actual novel by Mary Shelley and devoured it in a day. This is a novel that screamed for an audio adaptation. 

What I did notice from the book was the ambiguity in relation to the making of the monster. That and other detail I assumed would be in the book, but wasn't, finally explained to me why I had seen so many seemingly conflicting narratives in film and TV versions of the book. 

So how does this audio adaptation stack up?

The Big Finish Classics range made no bones about their desire to adapt stories as close to the original works as possible. This has not always been easy, as their version of H.G. Wells Things To Come demonstrated, though that too is a marvelous adaptation.  

As I was reading the novel, I noticed that I had never in film or TV seen any reference to the travel Victor makes to England, Scotland and Ireland. I was very happy that the audio version includes this section of the novel. 

But how close actually is it? While the novel is a deeply human book, examining the deep tragedy of one man's mistake and his journey into regret and possible redemption, Big Finish have changed the character of Victor Frankenstein into someone quite unlikeable. This however, takes nothing away from the brilliant performance of Arthur Darvill as Victor. 

The relationship between Victor, Elizabeth and Justine has been completely changed for this version and I can't say that I personally like it. While the novel induces a level of sympathy towards Victor in the reader, the audio version casts him as a repulsive and arrogant character whom I kept finding myself wanting to slap. His treatment of both Elizabeth and Justine is deplorable and not in line with the novel at all. 

I don't have an issue with this change in character, but I'm unsure about Big Finish's claim that the story is very close to the novel. It isn't that close. 

Nicholas Briggs' portrayal as the creature is incredibly good. He's up there with Robert de Nero as my favourite version of the creature. However, does the image on the cover of this set really convey the horror expressed by characters within the play? Once again, the novel is ambiguous as to what the creature looks like, but in all honesty, the image on the cover is not as terrifying as I think it could be. 

The scenes between the creature and De Lacey, played brilliantly by Geoffrey Beavers are beautiful. Until, that is, some more characters are given some downright detestable motives that tack in the complete opposite direction to the novel. To say I was shocked by the "cottagers" scenes would be an understatement. 

And speaking of Geoffrey Beavers, his main role as Alphonse Frankenstein is an example of perfect casting. His voice drips like honey into the ears and his final scenes are incredibly beautiful but immensely tragic. 

While the parts of the story set in Scotland and Ireland are there, they don't have the same feel as the novel to me. 

One of the most horrific parts of the story for me is the murder of Clerval in Ireland. Man! That was intense! But, this is a horror story after all.  

So for me, this version doesn't appear to be as faithful to the novel as it claims, but it's still a mighty fine production and a worthy addition to the Frankenstein stable of adaptations. 

Buy Frankenstein directly from the Big Finish website

Dwayne Bunney

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Episode 31 - JOHN DORNEY - Actor, Writer, Script Editor Part 2

Part 2 of our interview with John Dorney  contains tips for budding writers, as well as behind the scenes insights of the process behind the creation of various Big Finish box sets and their story arcs.

Previews from the following boxset played during this episode were:

Doctor Who: Stranded 1

The Robots 3

Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 3

John recommends Rule of Three (podcast)

Dwayne recommends Patrick Troughton - The Biography by Michael Troughton (audiobook)

Philip recommends Every Musical Ever (podcast)

Theme music by Husky by the Geek.



Twitter: @AudioSirens


Clips and music are copyright BBC and Big Finish. No infringement is intended.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

REVIEW | Torchwood: The Three Monkeys by James Goss

Big Finish have tried larger scale Torchwood audio drama, but it's here in the smaller cast plays that it seems to shine. Characters get their moment much more than they ever would if the whole Torchwood team and a large guest cast were featured.

That's part of what makes this month's Torchwood: The Three Monkeys, so special. 

Tom Price and Burn Gorman seem to be having a ball reprising their roles. Lockdown and remote recording has in no way dampened their enthusiasm for the job.

But despite the humour and good rapport between the characters, we still have the dark tragedy of Owen's "living death". We also learn of a massive tragedy within Andy's family.

Writer James Goss handles the human story, the comedy of the "No Activity" style car setting and the ensuing action very well as is common with his writing.

Combined with Lee Binding's very creepy cover art and Scott Handcock's reliable direction, The Three Monkeys is a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the Torchwood monthly range.

Buy Torchwood: The Three Monkeys directly from the Big Finish website.

Dwayne Bunney

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

REVIEW | Doctor Who: Daughter of the Gods by David K. Barnes

With so much output from Big Finish to keep up with, it may be easy to overlook some of the little gems that exist.

Take for instance, Daughter of the Gods by David K. Barnes, a first and second Doctor story featuring Jamie and Zoe, as well as Steven Taylor, and revolving around a companion with only a single tv episode plus a clip as a visual reference, Katarina.  

Most of us will know the story of Katarina's demise in The Daleks' Masterplan and credit must go to the "ideas man" of Big Finish, David Richardson, for the basis of this beautiful yet heartbreaking story. 

Creating a multi-Doctor story for an era that we didn't know much about the Doctor could be difficult, but Barnes has done a sensitive job in telling this tale, not only to keep within existing continuity, but he makes the sci-fi and timey-whimey concepts within it easy to understand. 

One of the most popular of the early adventures is "The Dalek Invasion of Winter" also penned by the same author. Barnes has a good handle on the era and it's little wonder he was asked to write this one. 

Each episode of Daughter of the Gods keeps you wondering what will happen next, with a new revelation to be uncovered and explored after each cliffhanger. 

Peter Purves and Fraser Hines are superb as always in their dual roles of both companion and Doctor, taking the listener right back to that era with ease. 

The casting of Ajjaz Awad as Katarina is a masterstroke. Together she and Purves create a relationship between Doctor and companion that would have been a pleasure to see back in the 60's, showing just how warm the first Doctor could truly be. 

This is not just for fans of the audios. I would recommend anyone who is a fan of the 60's era of Doctor Who take a listen to this. 

You will not be disappointed. 

Purchase Doctor Who: Daughter of the Gods directly from the Big Finish website on CD or download. 

Dwayne Bunney

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Episode 30 - JOHN DORNEY - Actor, Writer, Script Editor Part 1

We speak with prolific Big Finish writer John Dorney, who began his career with the company when he acted in the 8th Doctor adventure, Faith Stealer.

Now, many years later, John is one of the busiest members of Big Finish, having had a hand in almost every range in some form or another.

Part 2 of our interview is coming November 1st.

Clips used in this episode were from:

Doctor Who – Time War 4


The Omega Factor – Series 3

Theme music by Husky by the Geek.



Twitter: @AudioSirens


All clips and music are copyright BBC and Big Finish. No infringement is intended.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

REVIEW | Doctor Who -Time Lord Victorious: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not, by Carrie Thompson

Big Finish's first full cast foray into the Time Lord Victorious super arc takes the 8th Doctor into a reasonably (or dare I say refreshingly) simple but thoroughly engaging story.

The Doctor is sounding tired. I don't know if this is a result of recording remotely, thus not having the studio energy to bounce off other actors, or whether this is intended to portray the weariness of a Doctor continually being forced into a war he wants no part of. Whatever the case, Paul McGann is as incredible as ever, his voice as honey to the ears. He even gets a chance to try some different voices during this play.

The supporting cast are good with the western style situation allowing for some humour. The situation does leave itself open to the inevitable criticism of English cast trying to do American accents, even though much of the guest cast is American. 

Writer Carrie Thompson has done a fine job and I love her quirky sense of storytelling first seen in the short trip “The Second Oldest Question”. You must check that story out if you haven't already. I can see why Carrie was chosen to introduce the new and strangest character of this piece.

The stand out part of the story was undoubtedly the introduction of the Ood assassin Brian. We've seen servile Ood. We've seen insane Ood. We've even seen Oracle Ood. Now we get a chance to experience a psychopath Ood. Silas Carson is obviously relishing the chance to play a member of this race in a new and unique way and he is simply a joy to listen to.

Director Scott Handcock has done a wonderful job putting this together despite the challenges lockdown brought to it.

I am so looking forward to hearing how this story continues.

Purchase this story directly from the Big Finish website.

Dwayne Bunney

Friday, October 16, 2020

Episode 29 - DOMINIC GLYNN on Composing & Remixing for Doctor Who & Beyond

Our special guest this episode is Dominic Glynn, composer of incidental music in Doctor Who between 1986-1989, and arranger of the theme music for season 23, or the Trial of a  Time Lord season.  

Dominic's arrangement is currently used for the majority of the 6th Doctor Colin Baker's Big Finish audio stories.  

Dominic discusses his early musical influences, how he came to be working on Doctor Who, and what he has been up to in the intervening years. 

Music clip from Doctor Who: Vengeance On Varos Soundtrack by Jonathan Gibbs. 

Clips by Dominic Glynn played during this episode were: 

Doctor Who Theme - Radio Gallifrey Edit (The Gallifrey Remixes) 

The Trial Theme - Ravalox Remix (The Ravalox Remixes) 

Dragonfire - The Mark of Kane - L.I. Who Remix (The Ravalox Remixes) 

Survival: The Cheetah People -The Master Remix (The Ravalox Remixes) 

Happiness Will Prevail - Remix (Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol Remixes) 

Planet of The Cheetah People (Survival Soundtrack) 

...and somewhere else, the tea's getting cold (Survival Soundtrack) 

All the above clips by Dominic Glynn are available to stream on Spotify or buy on iTunes. 

Red Dwarf clip taken from series 8 episode 6 - Pete Part 1. 

Philip recommends the EPs of Dominic Glynn. The Gallifrey Remixes, The Ravalox Remixes & The Happiness Patrol Remixes. (Music) 

Dwayne recommends Blake's 7 - A Rebellion Reborn (Audio Drama Series) 

Theme music by Husky by the Geek. 



Twitter: @AudioSirens 


All clips and music are copyright Dominic Glynn, BBC and Big Finish. No infringement is intended.