Audiobook Review: Torchwood #31: The Vigil, by Big Finish

Toshiko has to deal with the funeral arrangements of a Torchwood recruit but instead finds herself dealing with him returning from the grave.

By
Lou Morgan’s script fails to completely capture the imagination.
Overall
2.5

Toshiko Sato has been paired with arrogant, brash, and decidedly classist recruit Sebastian Vaughn to investigate attacks by strange leeches. Now, back at Vaughn’s home, she has to deal with his equally classist mother, a dog with a weird name and a dead Sebastian Vaughn that appears to be calling to his mother from the ocean.

The seventh volume from the current monthly range of Torchwood releases follows a sadly all-too-familiar pattern for this season – a promising start with an intriguing concept that fails to hold the interest of the listener and ultimately leading to a disappointing conclusion.

Naoko Mori returns as Toshiko Sato and is immediately comfortable in the role. She brings her character to life as though she has never left her. It is because of her that this volume does not fall into a complete heap. She is ably supported by the wonderful Hugh Skinner as Sebastian Vaughn. He makes his character completely unlikeable even in his final moments. Lucy Robinson is all stiff upper lip snob in her role as Sebastian’s mother, Madeline. Her interplay with Mori is also very well presented. Alex Lowe rounds out the small cast as Roderick, a servant of Madeline.

Director Lisa Bowerman directs with a strong hand and does her level best to keep things interesting but is unfortunately lumbered with Lou Morgan’s script which has a lot of potential but just fails to completely capture the imagination as the best of these adventures do. Blair Mowat and Richard Fox continue their excellent sound and music design for this series.

There is a preview of the next volume as well as a small interview with Bowerman and Robinson to round out the bonus material.

After the wonderful previous title, The Hope, this is a very disappointing volume. The cast, it must be said, are all wonderful and the production cannot be faulted. Sadly, it all comes back to a script that attempts some wonderful things (the constant flashbacks actually work well to frame the story) within the limits of the timeframe (approximately one hour) but just fails to give a satisfactory payoff for the listener.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: September 2019
Approx RRP: $18 CD, $8 Digital Download

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