A disappointing offering that struggles to match with the best that Big Finish can offer.
A cheery little community called Serenity Plaza, where they hold monthly competitions for the best lawn, hardly seems the place to find anything untoward. But underneath the smiles and cheeriness lurks something a lot more menacing. Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones need to go undercover as a married couple to get to the bottom of things before it is too late.
The latest release from the Torchwood monthly range is another attempt to tell a single, isolated story within an episode and to feature a small number of regular cast members. Unfortunately, like other releases in this series, despite the best efforts of cast and crew, the script by James Moran cannot quite hold up to the best that Big Finish has presented in the past.
Certainly John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd relish the banter between their roles as Harkness and Jones respectively and, to be fair to Moran’s script, a lot of the comedic side to the story works well (such as in the earlier release, The Green Life). The small ensemble cast around the two leads are also very admirable in their attempts to replicate a utopian world: Ellie Darvill (Vanessa), Deirdre Mullins (Kelly), and Joe Shire (Bob) all work well within the confines of the limiting script and work strongly off the performances of the two leads.
Director Scott Handcock, along with music and sound design from Blair Mowat and Richard Fox compliment the style of the piece well as they have done since the start of this season of releases. A short interview with the two leads plus a preview of the next release round out the bonus material.
Sadly, for fans of Captain Jack and Ianto, this is not their finest hour (despite the promise of a much needed respite from all the dark Torchwood releases of late). It could possibly be that even though both Barrowman and David-Lloyd are excellent actors and, if given the right material, can truly shine, the whole premise of the Torchwood series does not really lend itself to this kind of humour.
It is certainly not the worst release in the monthly range from this series but it struggles to match with the best that Big Finish (and Torchwood) can offer.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: July 2019
Approx RRP: $18 CD, $8 Digital Download