Big Finish kicks off a new series of Torchwoodaudio adventures with Night of the Fendahl, by Tim Foley. Given how much I’ve enjoyed Foley’s stories for Aliens/God Among Us and Gallifrey, and taking into account the immensely high quality of previous Torchwood audios, I was incredibly excited to get into this one… and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint!
A sequel to the Fourth Doctor story Image of the Fendahl, this Torchwood release is one of the darkest yet, dealing with some incredibly pertinent themes and joining them with a premise right out of a horror movie to create a chilling story of sacrifice and exploitation.
Eve Myles gives a rather different performance as Gwen Cooper to the one we’re used to. I won’t go into too much detail (it truly has to be heard to be believed), but the way she delivers some of her lines is absolutely spine-tingling, adding to the spooky tone of this release. Overall, an incredibly strong story for the character.
The guest cast is equally as strong. Bradley Freegard gives a great performance as the reluctant actor Phil, Gavin Swift is marvelous as the repulsive Derek, and Guy Adams and Gerald Tyler round off the ensemble with their slimy characters Ged and Marco. Just as in televised Torchwood, the villains aren’t necessarily always the aliens, and this wonderful cast of actors solidifies this through their sinister performances.
Mark Hendrick and Blair Mowat provide brilliant sound design and music respectively. The soundtrack is clearly inspired by 70s Who, giving this production greater feeling of unity with the original story, and the sound effects are suitably scary, bringing the Fendahl to life faultlessly.
Having not seen Image of the Fendahl before listening to this, I was concerned that I wouldn’t fully appreciate this story. My worries were unfounded, however, as Foley makes sure everything you need to know is explained in the episode. So, even if you’ve not seen the original story, I’d still urge you to pick this one up: you won’t regret it!
Night of the Fendahl combines horror with a deeply important moral message to form one of the best Torchwood releases I’ve yet heard. Eve Myles gives it her all, the Fendahl are absolutely terrifying villains and the guest characters are both written and performed wonderfully. Highly recommended.
Night of the Fendahl is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
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