A one sentence summary of your review (not of the plot): A well-performed release hampered by a dull script.
It is Christmas Eve and Dr Gideon Parr is called on by Mr Maddox, owner of an asylum, to help him with an unusual patient. She bears a striking resemblance to Queen Victoria. In fact, she claims she is the reigning monarch and that she has a story to tell. It begins on a visit to Sandringham when the Queen is cursed by a strange girl with three simple words: “Take the crown!”
This month’s Torchwood release sees the return of Rowena Cooper as the elderly monarch to the series. As with her previous entries into this series, she brings a high nobility to the role and a fair amount of snobbery that the real Queen Victoria undoubtedly had. Unfortunately, the script by Jonathan Barnes is incredibly lugubrious and fails to sustain much interest due to the lengthy narratives and distinct lack of action. Any tension that might be developed is lost through a long monologue of backstory that struggles to keep up any momentum for the hour-long duration.
The supporting cast of Jonathan Blaydon (Mr Maddox), Gwyneth Keyworth (Mrs Henrietta Parr), and Derek Riddell (Dr Gideon Parr) all perform their roles well. Riddell especially provides some subtlety in his performance that hints at future events in the story without spoiling things too much.
Lisa Bowerman does her very best to keep things moving along but the plodding script does her no favours. The talents of sound designer Joe Meiners and music designer Blair Mowat also seem incredibly underused in this release. The bonus interviews at the end of the disc will be of interest to those keen on hearing about the creation of the story.
This is the weakest of the current series of releases for the Torchwood monthly range. Potential new listeners are certainly advised to start elsewhere if craving a fix of the Torchwood audios.
Reviewed By: Rodney Hrvatin
Distributed By: Big Finish Productions
Released: December 2020
Approx RRP: $19.25 CD, $8.99 Digital Download