THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMAS
"SWORD OF ORION" AND
"MINUET IN HELL."
MY LAST DUCHESS
BIG FINISH CD#18
RELEASED IN MARCH
THe Doctor and
Charley VISIT VENICE
AS THE GREAT CITY
PREPARES TO SINK
BENEATH THE WATER
FOR THE LAST TIME.
THE MACHINATIONS OF A
AN ART HISTORIAN AND
A RABID HIGH PRIEST OF
A REALLY QUITE DODGY
CULT COMBINE TO MAKE
VENICE'S SWANWONG A
NIGHT TO REMEMBER.
AND THEN THERE'S THE
MYSTERY OF A MISSING
CORPSE AND THE TRUTH
BEHIND A CURSE GOING
BACK FURTHER THAN
CURSES USUALLY DO...
What is it with Paul Magrs? With most Doctor Who writers, by the time that Iíve
got a couple of their stories under my belt, Iím able to gauge whether or not I like their style. Paul Magrsí work, however, constantly confounds me. Some of it I find utterly enchanting; so much so that Iím left wondering why heís writing Doctor Who and not topping international bestseller charts. The rest of it, though, I find completely impenetrable, which is really quite bizarre when one considers that his work is so infamously distinctive; inimitable, even. And whilst I canít adequately articulate why some of Magrsí stories prove to be such resounding hits with me whereas others donít, I am at least able to say that The Stones of Venice really doesnít work for me. Not at all.
Magrsí premise is certainly one that fires the imagination - a futuristic Venice sinking into
the water, an evil curse, a revolution Ė but for some reason the plot never quite drew me in. Perhaps this is because The Stones of Venice so patently pays homage to literary classics such as Wuthering Heights, A Room with a View, and even Shakespeareís Twelfth Night - texts with which Iím not familiar and, ultimately, not all that interested in.
Matters arenít helped by the playís
heightened feel. The events and the
characters portrayed are so embroi-
dered that the play feels as much like
a nursery rhyme as it does a Doctor
Who adventure. As one would expect,
The League of Gentlemenís Mark Gatiss revels in the richness of the material; as does series stalwart Michael Sheard (Remembrance
of the Daleks, et al), who puts in a wonderful turn as the moribund, disconsolate wreck that is Count Orsino; and Elaine Ives-Cameron, who plays his execrable flame Estella. Paul McGann and India Fisher, however, each feel a little lost, fervently tearing through a world where they donít quite fit. Who knows? Perhaps thatís the point Iím missing.
Indeed, unlike most stories that I donít get on well with, I can at least see that The Stones of Venice is sure to really arouse a niche audience. Distinctive and baroque, and dripping with Magrsí typically delectable dialogue, those that like this one are sure to love it.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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