Last month, Big Finish Productions launched a new six-story tribute of celebrated science fiction author HG Wells with The Invisible Man. It was outstanding and, this month, they’ve done it again.
Second off the rank is a new adaptation of The First Men in the Moon, a novel originally published in 1901. A chance meeting between scientist, Professor Cornelius Cavor, and London businessman, Mr Bedford, sees the two of them working on an application for a new element called ‘cavorite’. Negating the forces of gravity, the cavorite allows the duo to voyage to the moon where they are taken captive by an insect-like species known as the Selenites.
Adapted by Jonathan Barnes and under the deft guidance of director Lisa Bowerman, The First Men in the Moon once again captures the sensibilities of the turn of the century while adding a modern quality to the production. The sound design and music by Peter Doggart is stunning, with the effects conjuring cyberpunk images of impossible and imaginative inventions and landscapes.
Although told retrospectively by Bedford, the story is both fascinating and thrilling. Even before their journey to the moon, the brief set up of their meeting and research is intriguing.
The two leads are names of note and both give performances that are believable and sympathetic. Nigel Planer, most famous for playing Neil in the cult comedy The Young Ones is Professor Cavor, with Gethin Anthony from TV’s Game of Thrones as Mr Bedford. They are joined by Chloe Pirrie, Alan Cox and David Horovitch, all meeting the expected high standards set up in the first of Big Finish’s HG Wells retrospectives.
Extras on this two-disc set include Doggart’s music suite and cast interviews. The First Men in the Moon runs for approximately 2 hours. It was released this month by, and is available on CD and Digital Download through Big Finish Productions.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 9