The last installment in the Seventh Doctor trilogy leaves this reviewer in a bit of a conundrum. There is no problem as such with the play, itâ€™s finely crafted, well acted and is perfect to listen to during these cold winter months.
However, after the two preceding episodes were so strong and formed the umbrella of a larger story, it seems an odd choice to suddenly cut to a standalone story.
Before we digress, letâ€™s review; weâ€™ve had two major stories for the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex before Lurkers at Sunlightâ€™s Edge. In these pieces, weâ€™ve seen the Doctor and his friends take on the Forge in an abandoned London with Hex having to face up to some major revelationsÂ and then weâ€™ve carried straight on to find that the Word Lord has returned only for the Doctor to die in order to save the world from him! Now thatâ€™s action and adventure!
By the time we get to Lurkers at Sunlightâ€™s Edge, things certainly do feel wrapped up and the TARDIS crew ready for new adventures. However, this being a trilogy of plays, it feels ever so slightly out of sorts, as if the last piece of the puzzle was lost and this is its replacement. Not to say that itâ€™s a bad replacement at all, in fact this is a very strong story indeed, the first episode evoking memories and visuals from Tomb of the Cybermen, deserted catacombs harbouring deadly and mysterious inhabitants.
The TARDIS team find their duties split here, in a nice even manner, however itâ€™s Ace who once again finds herself attached to a poor, misunderstood creature. It’s odd comparing Ace to how sheâ€™s grown in the Big Finish Universe compared to that of the New Adventures and to an extent the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip. In the latter two, Ace became more hardened to the experiences around her. Death became a constant companion that she almost welcomed into her life. In the world of Big Finish, Ace still retains her humanity and especially in this play. Her new found friendâ€™s unfortunate end resonates with you sometime after listening to it, a touching update to how things were done when Sophie Aldred was playing the character on TV.
This is certainly something worth listening to, itâ€™s atmospheric, creepy and keeps you engaged as you find out the mysteries of the snowy island that shouldnâ€™t be there. Performances are, as always, top notch, special mention goes to Stuart Milligan who embitters the character of Emerson Whytecrag in a brilliantly nutty and dangerous man. It would have been nice to have this as a final slice in the trilogy to really round things up, maybe a larger story arc was needed to help push it along, the only advice youâ€™ll get to properly enjoy this is the following: buy it on its own.
Enjoy it as a single play that has nothing to do with any other. It stands up on its own merits and thatâ€™s the way youâ€™ll really appreciate it.
Starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Philip Olivier, Michael Brandon (The Stolen Earth) and Stuart Milligan (Dreamland), Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge is available now from www.bigfinish.com!