THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
AUDIO DRAMAS "THE
DEAD SHOES" AND "A
STING IN THE TALE."
'HORNETS' NEST: THE
CIRCUS OF DOOM' AUDIO
CD (ISBN 1-408-42675-3)
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
IN BLANDFORD, 1832,
ANTONIO EXERTS A
ON THE TOWNSFOLK.
THE DOCTOR STEPS INTO
THE RING TO FIND THAT
ANTONIO HAS DEMONS
OF HIS OWN...
The Circus of Doom
The Circus of Doom, the central chapter in Tom Baker and Paul Magrsí heavily publicised Hornetsí Nest series is a story that Iím sure the author had great fun writing, and the actor an even better time performing.
Magrsí translucent title tells you everything that you need to know about the production long before you pop the CD into your player. Whatever preconceptions and prejudices you may have inferred are almost certainly well-founded, but thatís no bad thing here. The seventy minutes of this story are teeming with sinister clowns; mischievous Lion Tamers; ghoulish ringmasters of squat stature; and even bearded, female funambulists possessed by alien insects.
And much like the preceding instalments, The Circus of Doom is a lyrical delight, Magrsí peerless prose effortlessly rolling from Bakerís tongue. Magrs is without doubt my favourite Who wordsmith, at least in terms of the beautiful language that he uses. It may seem a little peculiar to be praising prose in what is billed as a pseudo-audio drama, but having Baker read it aloud in his distinct and sonorous tones really heightens oneís appreciation of it.
The story itself is colourful and enchanting, not to mention abominably amusing in a League of Gentlemen sort of way. For instance, on the face of it, one wouldnít think that there was
all that much humour to be derived from having the Doctorís head inside a Lionís mouth as
it enjoys a ďlackadaisical yawnĒ, but somehow Magrs finds it, whist somehow still managing
to maintain a distinct air of tension. Now thatís skill.
The ongoing Hornetsí
Nest narrative is also
progressed a little as
through his encounter
with embittered dwarf
Antonio, the Doctor
learns that he is destined to cause the events that lead to Antonio first becoming possessed by the Hornets many years earlier, begging some very interesting questions indeed. At this stage I canít help but wonder where exactly these Hornets come from, and indeed how they came to be.
More pessimistically, as appears to be the case with this Hornetsí Nest series overall, this production is an audio book disguised as audio drama; Bakerís great swathes of narration broken only by short, sharp bursts of dialogue from the supporting artists. Most lamentably
of all though, Richard Franklin is once again neglected by the script, the character of Mike Yates used by Magrs as nothing more than an extraordinary bookend.
On balance then, I enjoyed The Circus of Doom more than I did The Stuff of Nightmares, though I donít think that it quite measures up to the riotous merriment of The Dead Shoes. That said, itís intriguing to see the first few threads of the larger story starting to knit together, and Iím very much looking forward to finding out how the series will conclude. With Magrs at the helm, we can at least be sure that it will be both a thrilling and macabre climax.
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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