“authentic yet refreshingly different”
A well-known and loved television series, Doctor Who has been treating us to a delightful combination of heart-wrenching drama and fantastically geeky sci-fi since its modern reboot in 2005, and Durham WhoSoc’s ‘Out of the Shadows’ Audio Drama is no exception.
Episode 1 follows ‘the newly regenerated 14th doctor, crashing to Earth in a world of the vanishing homeless amongst the sinister Shadowmen, and at the centre of it all a boy who has lost everything – Jason Whittaker’. In contrast, episode 2 cracks into the drama with our first sense of otherworldly adventure, featuring the Doctor and her new companion. Most excitingly (in my opinion) episode 3 is set in 18th century Georgian London, where ‘the Arist, robots who value decorum over everything else’ have taken over society. Director, writer, and cast-member Jacob Cook has done an amazing service to Whovians in both the writing and the casting of this drama, with every actor not only playing their role enthusiastically, but making it their own in a way that is similar to every regeneration of the show.
Evie Press as the 14th Doctor can be encompassed in one word – epic! Her approach to the Doctor’s characteristic monologues seem effortless and natural, with charisma radiating through the sound waves. Press’ chemistry with Jacob Cook as Jason was clear, with their dialogue moving smoothly and demonstrating the possibility of a fabulous Doctor-Companion relationship.
The chemistry in this pairing is clear throughout all 3 episodes, and I almost wish for more interactions between the two – it was just that good. However, it would be remiss of me not to give special credit to Rebecca Duckworth and Freya Gautier who portray a mother-daughter pair in episode 2 with expert conviction, every dialogue and verbal interaction between the two put a smile on my face, given the uncanny realism in their relationship.
Episode 3 was a resounding success; the historical fiction elements were executed with precision and integrity, the banterous rapport between Press and Cook developing beautifully from episode to episode. The soundscape of the theatre towards the start of the episode truly highlighted the sheer talent of the sound designers, and the musical compositions running alongside felt authentic yet refreshingly different.
The audio-drama, despite a shaky start with episode one (which can be chalked up to some growing-pains balancing the description of scene and the listener’s imaginative freedom) is set to be a great success. The transitions between some scenes were a bit jarring, due to a lack of narration or music between sections, however, once a flow was established, the quality dramatically improved. Despite this, some of the pauses between sections or scenes disrupted this flow and meant that some of the drama got lost in these silences. Contrastingly, episodes 2 and 3 established a stronger sense of storytelling with episode 3 showing just how incredible this audio-drama series will be. This show has so much potential and we’re only three episodes in!
Oliver Hopkins-Burke’s incidental music evoked the majesty of Murray Gold’s universally adored work on Doctor Who series 1-10, and though the first episode could’ve benefitted from more musical scoring, the scenes that were scored were incredibly authentic and true to Who. A huge congratulations must be awarded to Sound Designer, Ollie Fabb, whose soundscapes were artfully created in order to build the Whoniverse through sound alone. Whilst a listener craved more in terms of music and sound from this dynamic duo in the first episode, our appetites were satiated in the second and especially the third episode, where the compositional effects aid the drama in what is sure to become an artful, symbiotic relationship.
Overall, this is a totally incredible creation by Cook and Co. It is most definitely a show to listen to for all Doctor Who fans.
By Chessy Weiner
Available on Purple Radio
Photo credits: DUADS