THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
AUDIO DRAMAS "THE
AND "THE LAST."
BIG FINISH CD#61
RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
The Multihaven OfferS sanctuary in which
the Doctor, Charley
and C'rizz CAN BEGIN
TO RECOVER FROM
LEAST, IT APPEARS TO.
under the guidance of
the charismatic Laan
Carder, THE LUCIDIAN
religion seems to be
at an alarming rate.
With the Doctor and
glimpses of an old
friend and C'rizz on
the receiving end of
their belief, hope and
faith are about to be
tested to the limit.
It's time to see the
Faith Stealer is the most relentlessly enjoyable adventure for Paul McGann’s Doctor that Big Finish have produced in a long time, if not ever. From start to finish it is a lively but gripping social commentary that constantly flits between Pythonesque humour
and classic Who horror.
To begin with, the story’s premise is quite remarkable. The Multihaven is a colourful tapestry of different religions and cults living in harmony. But Laan Carder and his Church of Lucidity are looking to convert all believers to their faith - a faith manipulated by a parasitic substance called ‘miraculite’…
In its finest moments, Graham
Duff’s story reminded me of
Douglas Adams’ work, and
at others of something torn
straight out of Monty Python.
There are some wonderfully
diverse faiths to be found
and gently mocked here,
“The Church of Serendipity'” standing out as a particular favourite – its followers worship the Great Lord Whoops, who has earned the inauspicious sobriquet “The Great Neglector”. The followers of this particular faith go around muttering amusing aphorisms like “may your path be strewn with obstacles” and celebrating every bang on the head that they endure.
However, the script isn’t just a send-up of organised religion; in fact, it is far from it. Some
of the subject matter explored is very dark indeed, dwelling on the dangers of extremism - which sadly in the world of today are all too redolent - whilst still managing to maintain a healthy and a positive outlook on spiritualism. The concept of the Multihaven, for instance,
is actually pretty inspiring, albeit in a Star Trekky sort of way.
Duff also handles the regulars extremely well. His Doctor is complex mesh of vibrancy and depression; externally jovial as he passes himself off as a member of the “Tourist” faith, but internally battling his own private demons as he is forced to experience nightmarish flashes of the TARDIS’ destruction, over and over again.
For his part, C’rizz is even more impressive. Laan Carder’s miraculite magnifies C’rizz’s negative feelings, amplifying his guilt and self-loathing before brainwashing him completely.
This allows Duff to elucidate a little on C’rizz’s religion – he was a monk of the Church of the Foundation, we find out – whilst at the same time exploring the ramifications of his killing of his lover, L’da, in The Creed of the Kromon.
Charley is a bit of a spare part, however. She makes the odd contribution here and there,
but she just doesn’t seem to fit in in this universe - whether this is deliberate or not, I’m not yet sure. In Faith Stealer, it feels like she’s just there for the Doctor to moan to and for C'rizz to throttle at the end of Part 2.
On the whole though, Faith Stealer marks a resplendent return to form for the eighth Doctor, and comes highly recommended indeed.
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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