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     Big Finish 092 - Nocturne    
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Tuesday, March 13 2007 @ 08:59 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1,847 times  
    DW Reviews Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex.

    The Doctor takes Ace and Hex to another war zone but this time the war is a backdrop to the story rather than the story itself. As a consequence this play is much lighter in feel than the last several outings featuring this incarnation of the Doctor.

    The planet is Nocturne, the last stop for many humans before being shipped out to a war that has been going on for decades. At first Ace and Hex suspect that the Doctor has brought them to Nocturne to interfere in that war but after some teasing the Doctor reveals that this is one of his favourite places and times in the universe and he wishes to share it with them. He goes on to explain that despite the war; in this time and place the “Far Renaissance” is happening and human art is flourishing in a way that it will do only half a dozen times in human history.

    Obviously with the Doctor present it doesn’t take long for things to start going wrong. Shortly after they arrive an artist is murdered and Hex is placed under suspicion and arrested. As the Doctor delves into the murder he discovers that someone has dabbled into things that they don’t understand and has unleashed a mysterious destructive force which threatens the future of the planet.

    (continues below)

    I have to say that I was disappointed with this play. Although I feel that the 7th Doctor has been far too dark of late and that the lightening of the mood was a welcome change this story was far too predictable. Although well acted for the most part; some of the jokes were far too obvious and the deaths too predictable. The police action was waffling and cut from every clichéd private eye story ever written. Some of the dialogue was (surprisingly) equally cheesy, in one scene the lights go out and the Doctor says “Nobody panic!” to which Ace adds “The Doctor’s right.” Which is a little over dramatic for what turned out to be a blown fuse. There is also a hint of romance betwixt Ace and the injured war hero who (of course) later dies.

    Most of the residents of the planet Nocturne seem to have personal robots called “familiars“ (obviously a poor red herring) and unfortunately the sound effect played whenever one of these familiars walked in or out of scene was remarkably like that of someone continually using a Zippo lighter.

    This play looked as if it was trying to capture the essence of the classic movie Casablanca. Not only did it fail but in doing so managed to sound vaguely absurd.

    This is a reasonable play for beginners to get a feel for the Big Finish audios but will not satisfy more experienced listeners of Doctor Who or Big Finish.

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