The first Seventh Doctor release of the year teams Sylvester McCoy up with Jessica Martin as Mags, last seen in “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”. Is this new pairing a success, though? Read on to find out.
Written by Matt Fitton, The Monsters of Gokroth is a gripping gothic tale of mad scientists, vulnerable peasants and terrible creatures stalking the woods. This kind of story fits the Seventh Doctor perfectly: it’s dark, unpredictable and a little bit scary, much like the character. McCoy gives a fantastic performance in this one: quiet and brooding in a manner reminiscent of the New Adventures novels.
This darker story style is also perfect for new companion Mags, who is portrayed compellingly by Jessica Martin. I must admit, I’ve not yet seen The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, but Fitton’s writing and Martin’s performance set up the character so well that it didn’t really make a difference. By the end of the story, I felt like I knew exactly who Mags was, and this is one of this release’s strengths. I definitely can’t wait to hear more from the character!
Another strength is the superb sound design and music. Andy Hardwick brings the titular monsters to live with flair, as well as imbuing the world of Gokroth with the gothic spookiness that really makes this story work.
The plot isn’t particularly deep; aside from a twist or two, it plays out exactly as you’d expect it to. In the end, though, this is a release all about re-establishing the Doctor and Mags’ relationship, and on that front it certainly succeeds.
And, of course, all of this is brought about through some fantastic performances from the guest cast. Special praise goes to Victoria Yeates and Andrew Fettes who, as Maleeva and Gor respectively, manage to keep you guessing throughout as to the true nature of their characters.
Overall, The Monsters of Gokroth is a fine story, directed brilliantly by Big Finish newcomer Samuel Clemens and setting up the Doctor-Mags relationship, which I can’t wait to see explored in future releases. Recommended.
The Monsters of Gokroth is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
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