Books & Literature

Audiobook Review: Torchwood #42: Ex Machina, by Big Finish

SCI-FI: Ianto Jones is Torchwood. Ianto Jones is the defender of a deserted city, a lone crusader who keeps the empty streets safe.

A well-written hour that will delight fans of the series & one of the better releases in this current run.

Cardiff is a ghost town protected by Ianto Jones, sole agent of Torchwood. A woman appears and tells him that she has no recollection of her parents. It is not until the few Cardiff natives start disappearing that Ianto realises that something has been acting to make someone happy. What follows is a tale of a break-up, anger, and an alien device that only wants to please its owner even if it means the destruction of everyone around it.

This release in the monthly Torchwood range is the first to be released that was recorded in isolation earlier this year. You would barely know the difference as small casts and remote locations are par for the course in this range. Alfie Shaw’s tight script is a fascinating story told very well and performed remarkably well by the two leads in Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones) and Laura Aikman (Abigail Forehill). There is a strong chemistry between the two actors that propel the story along and keep the listener engaged throughout.

The remaining supporting cast are superb enhancers of the action. Jacob Dudman (Luke), Misha Malcolm (Fran), Joshua Manning (The Absence), Kerry Joy Stewart (Mrs Evans) all bring out their characters well under the direction of Scott Handcock who keeps the action flowing nicely. There is not much call for Blair Mowatt’s music but what there is, works well. Iain Meadows does his usual top drawer effort with his sound design that adds to the creepy factor of the piece. There are bonus interviews with the cast and writer which discuss the difficulties of recording under these conditions. Writer Alfie Shaw also gives us a fascinating glimpse into the way a script is edited and adjusted in the current environment.

This is one of the better releases in this current series of the monthly range and should engage fans of the series well. Some may argue that the end is a little predictable or that the story is a shade too long but it seems like a minor quibble given the quality of the production.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: September 2020
Approx RRP: $20 CD, $9 Digital Download

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