Hey, you’ve found your way over to Big Finishing Move here on One Of Us. Welcome! This clever little website has loads of cool articles and podcasts of geeky and just all around cool stuff. They also let me post my ramblings…er, I mean writings such as this series right here where I take a look at the audio drama work of Big Finish and let you know if you should pick something up or save your money for an extra plate the next time you are at the discount sushi joint.
Today’s entry is all about the second entry of The Fourth Doctor Adventures for 2016, a little number by the name of The Labyrinth of Buda Castle. So let’s traverse this maze and see if the prize at the end was worth our time.
TARDIS Team: The Fourth Doctor and Romana II
The Doctor and Romana are having a fine time taking in the sights and sounds of 1980s Budapest sans K-9. Given this duo, trouble can never be too far away, and sure enough, one blood curdling scream later leads the pair to a dark back alley with a dead body with barely any blood of its own left to curdle. Seems something drained it of blood via a neck wound. Can the two figure out what is going on, and how it all ties back to the Labyrinth of Buda Castle, a place that was for a time the prison of one Vlad the Impaler?
First, let me just point out what a great place to set a Doctor Who story. The Fourth Doctor is the incarnation most people think of when it comes to haunted houses and castles, so this real life labyrinth where the inspiration for Dracula was once incarcerated is the perfect location to place a story starring ol’ Scarfy. you couldn’t imagine a better setting if you tried. I knew nothing of Buda Castle or its origins, but this story made me excited to learn more about the history of the real place. I’m always happy when Who injects a little real life history into its stories. It gives the narrative a much wider scope, and makes certain storylines feel all the more real, even with all the crazy time travel and monster shenanigans that go on in this franchise.
Another plus to this story is how it plays with your expectations. You may think you know what’s going on simply by the title and the few pieces of information I’ve brought up in this review, but I’m happy to say that things are more complicated than that. Writer Eddie Robson is able to deliver a story that hits all the beats you think it would, but in new and different ways, making what could have easily been a by-the-numbers tale, into something with a fair amount of originality.
On the performance end, I have to give it up to Mark Bonnar who puts in one hell of a performance as Zoltán Frid. He creates a breathy voice that makes you feel the age and underlying threat to the character, even when he is being pleasant and calm. It’s quite a thing to create a voice that sounds mighty, yet also tired in the same beat.
I do like this story a lot, but I have to say that the ending is too squeaky clean. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but if this was a Fourth Doctor story set in either Sarah Jane or Leela’s tenure, the final outcome would have been more grisly and in my opinion, more fitting. It also relies a bit too heavily on coincidence, with the right people or things coming into the Doctor and Romana’s path right when they need them. This stems not from laziness, but a lack of time given to flesh things out and drive the plot in a more organic matter. That aside, this is a nice little self contained monster story with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting the whole way through. So go ahead and grab this one if you’re looking for a bite size bit of fun.
Purchase Doctor Who: The Labyrinth of Buda Castle Here:
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Next time we once again ask what war is good for with:
See you soon!
Check out my previous reviews:
Phantasmagoria, The Fearmonger, The Light At The End, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Storm Warning, Blood of the Daleks, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear, The King of Sontar, White Ghosts, Dark Eyes II, The Crooked Man, Project: Twilight, The Evil One, The Harvest, The Last Of The Colophon, The Council Of Nicaea, Destroy The Infinite, Afterlife, The Abandoned, Zygon Hunt, Revenge Of The Swarm, Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Box Set, Dark Eyes 3, Mask of Tragedy, The Fourth Doctor By Gareth Roberts, The Exxilions, The Darkness of Glass, Dark Eyes IV, Requiem for the Rocket Men, Signs And Wonders, Death Match, Suburban Hell, The Burning Prince, The Cloisters of Terror, The Acheron Pulse, The Fate of Krelos, The Shadow Heart, Return to Telos, The Sixth Doctor – The Last Adventure, Doom Collation I, The Yes Men, The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous, Wave of Destruction