15 April 2011

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Writ ten By: Eddie Robson

RRP: £14.99

Release Date: 31st March 2011

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 15th April 2011

The Industrial Revolution is not a new subject for Doctor Who or for the Sixth Doctor.

Having encountered luddites in The Mark of the Rani,  the Doctor now gets entangled with all the cogs and machinery in this somewhat disappointing end to the latest Thomas Brewster trilogy.

The story begins with Brewster working at a Brass mill in 19th century Lancashire, left there by the Doctor after his request to return to a more normal life. Unknown to Brewster, the Doctor is not too far away, keeping an eye not just on him, but the mill’s mysterious owner Samuel Belfrage.

After a series of gruesome accidents, it’s not long before there is real trouble at the mill as the nature of Mr Belfrage’s business begins to wreak havoc.

While the play is not a bad one, you cannot help but feel the sense of missed opportunity, particularly with Brewster. John Pickard is as ever charming and rascally as Brewster, but the character is once again simply scheming with the people not on the Doctor’s side, a theme that has occurred throughout this trilogy. Separating Brewster from the Doctor once again, makes you question whether he was actually needed as the story could have worked just as easily without him.

Colin Baker and Maggie Stables continue to show why The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe are a perfect Doctor and companion team and the supporting cast do give it their all but the story seems a little stretched in places.  

The villains of the piece are almost steampunk in nature and with some excellent sound design and musical score make very effectively creepy antagonists.

There are some interesting ideas about our over dependence on technology as well as an obligatory class issue as Brewster engages the factory workers to strike, which amounts to padding at best.

Ultimately though, it is a story that doesn’t really go anyway, although the intriguing nature of Brewster’s departure leaves an opportunity open for him to return. 

I hope it is a far more interesting affair, as the character does have a great deal of potential to develop further than the artful dodger persona he seems to be stuck as.

Industrial Evolution is not a complete failure but it is certainly not one of Big Finish’s strongest plays.

 

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