Audiobook Review: HG Wells’ The Invisible Man, by Big Finish

HG Wells’ infamous tale of an invisible man who is driven to madness comes to life in a full cast production starring the late, great John Hurt.

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The sad and untimely death of legendary actor John Hurt in January this year delayed the release of this production which stars the late actor as one of HG Wells’ most iconic literary characters.

The Invisible Man is the first of six full-cast adaptations being made from the works of the British science fiction writer with upcoming titles including The First Men in the Moon, The Shape of Things to Come, and The Island of Dr Moreau.

While Big Finish Productions have made their name with original, full-cast stories set in the Doctor Who universe, they frequently branch out with other exceptional productions and series. One such range is the Big Finish Classics that revive classic English literature for audio. Stories to date have included Dorian Gray, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Frankenstein, Treasure Island, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and more. This new set of HG Wells adaptations continues the Classics range.

The magnificent music suite by Jamie Robertson is a star attraction of The Invisible Man, which is quite astounding given the high quality of the entire production. Sound design by Matthew Cochrane conjures up images of Victorian times, and Jonathan Barnes captures the speech and attitudes of the era in his excellent script.

The story, under the deft direction of Ken Bentley, jumps between events playing out, and two characters – Dr Kemp (Blake Ritson) and Thomas Marvel (Peter Noble) – recounting their horror at the inexplicable occurances that took place at the Coach & Horses Inn. Those events centred around mysterious guest, Griffin (John Hurt), who is bandaged up and demands to be left alone. Soon after he checks in, strange things begin to occur in town until it is discovered that Griffin has uncovered the secret to invisibility but can’t restore himself back to normal.

Hurt has always been magnificent and this is no exception as his character descends into a revenge-driven madness. He is truly believable while capturing the histrionics so rife in the stories of HG Wells’ time. He is joined by TV star Annette Badland as landlady Mrs Hall, David Rintoul, Richard Dixon, Alex Clatworthy and Alexander Forsyth.

The Invisible Man is an excellent, 2-hour production and one of my favourites to be released by Big Finish over recent times. It has set the bar exceptionally high for the next five HG Wells tales that are coming this year and is a must-have for any fan of classic science fiction and high-quality drama.

Extras on the double-CD set include interviews and Robertson’s unforgettable music suite.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 10:  10

Released by: Big Finish Productions
Release date: February 2017
RRP: $24.24 CD, $12.99 digital download

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