Big Finish Folly, Part 97 – The Feast of Axos, by Mike Maddox
An old enemy, trapped in a time loop, forgotten by the world… until somebody has the bright idea of harnessing the power of Axonite to take care of Earth’s power problems once and for all. Now it’s a race against time to prevent Axos breaking free of the time loop and devouring the entire Earth. On one side, Campbell Irons, the crew of the Windermere, and Axos itself. On the other, the Doctor and Evelyn. And in the middle… Thomas Brewster, of course.
We’re coming to the end of both this “season” and Evelyn’s run as the Doctor’s companion, and at last the pace is picking up. As much as Thomas Brewster was a hindrance in the last story, he actually works far better as an unreliable ally in this play – a man out of time negotiating on behalf of a monster outside of time, Brewster’s wheeling and dealing is never malicious.
Evelyn meanwhile, sounds far more frail than she has done in previous plays. Perhaps this is my mind adding emphasis to what we already know (the character’s heart is weak – and Maggie Stables has unfortunately been unwell in recent times, keeping her away from the studios) but in the scenes where Evelyn spacewalks the way she is overwhelmed by the sight of the Earth make the listener truly worried for her health. But Evelyn plays an important part in keeping Brewster and the Doctor on the same side. In fact this is a Tardis team that by the end of the play is beginning to work well together.
Plot and sound-wise, The Feast of Axos being only three years old at this point, everything sounds spankingly modern and crisp. Big Finish’s production values seem to match anything the BBC can do for the new Who TV series, even the effect on my imagination seems to have been upgraded. I wasn’t around for the original Pertwee TV serial, but you certainly don’t have to have seen it to enjoy this sequel. Having said that there are enough references and in-jokes for those who want them – Bernard Holley returns as the stentorian voice of Axos, while the corporate interest running the ill-advised show is said to have taken over the British Rocket Group (Quatermass ahoy!).
Right – one more to go next time, and then we take a short break from Old Sixey to cover the latest Five/Nyssa trilogy before returning to the 6th Doctor’s continuity – and a new companion who has already met the Doctor in a future incarnation….