CD#3.3 (ISBN 1-84435-


 MAY 2009.



 1827. The GERMAN

 town of Orlok is

 curseD, haunted

 by the memory of

 a spate of grisly

 murders that

 ONCE shattered

 the community.


 At the time, FOLK

 blamed the Beast

 of Orlok, a night-

 marish creature

 from medieval

 folklore. And now,

 it seems, the Beast

 has returned.


 As the killings begin

 again, the people of 

 Orlok are suspicious

 of two strangers,

 newly arrived in

 their midst. LUCIE AND

 THE Doctor must face

 their darkest fears

 as they ARE plunged

 into a decidedly grim



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The Beast of Orlok

4TH APRIL 2009 - 11TH APRIL 2009







Barnaby Edwards’ contribution to this third season of Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith plays is The Beast of Orlok - a gruesome and gothic tale that would have been right at home somewhere in the early years of Tom Baker’s tenure on television.


“With fangs like splinters, claws like knives, the Beast of Orlok gobbles lives.

With brimstone breath and eyes aglow, he’ll eat your soul - to Hell you’ll go!”


And whilst this lyrical two-parter doesn’t see the return of an adversary from the early Tom Baker era in the same way that the releases at either side of it do, very much in the style of that time Edwards’ story skilfully fuses a deluge of eclectic elements from sources as diverse as the Brothers Grimm’s Hänsel und Gretel, Nosferatu, Sleepy Hollow and Frankenstein. It also, much to my amusement, features a character called ‘Zoff’, which I think feels delightfully incongruous in the fairytale surroundings!


Having also directed and co-produced this story, Edwards is also able to take a lot of credit for the production’s ultimate style and wonderful ambience. The Beast of Orlok truly brings to life 19th century Germany in extraordinary fashion, somehow managing to engender both a fable-like quality and a perverse sense of realism at the same time. Andy Hardwick’s sound design is also particularly evocative on this one, and his score suitably stirring.


© Big Finish Productions 2009. No copyright infringement is intended.


Of course, Edwards can’t be held totally accountable for the performances of the cast, but there’s not a bad one to be found here in any event. Samuel Barnett of The History Boys fame is the standout guest star as one of the two ‘super golems’, Hans, but to be honest I found myself wowed by Sheridan Smith to the detriment of just about everyone else. The Beast of Orlok is a fantastic story for Lucie with lots for the character to do, and Smith really takes full advantage of the favourable script. In fairness though, Paul McGann also gives a duly rousing performance, as he so often does, but for me it is Smith that really steals the show.


On a more downbeat note, I

found the story’s first episode

to be a little too traditional for

my own tastes; a quality that is

perhaps more prominent than

it otherwise might have been,

given that this play follows hot on the heels of the far less conventional duet of Orbis and

Hothouse. That said, come the second episode all bets are off as events take several astonishing turns on their way to play’s cleverly-crafted climax.


And so to sum up, whilst I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did Edwards’ lovely offering last year, The Bride of Peladon, The Beast of Orlok is a two-part story that I suspect will prove very popular indeed, particularly with listeners who like their Doctor Who to have a distinctly traditional flavour, and those who have a fondness for the Philip Hinchliffe / Robert Holmes era of the television series with which this third season of eighth Doctor and Lucie audio

adventures has much in common.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2009


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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