REVIEW | Torchwood: Gooseberry

Guest contributor Harvey Edwards takes on the most recent release in the Torchwood range: Gooseberry!

James Goss‘s Gooseberry is an interesting release from the Torchwood range. Judging by its title, it seems as though the story might just be a comedy about Owen interfering with Andy’s new relationship. However, a quick listen to the trailer will let you know that Caite, Andy’s girlfriend, is just like Owen – she’s dead. What follows is a story much deeper and more interesting than the title would have you believe.

The story is essentially about addiction, but told in a very Torchwood way – though saying any more would be spoiling it. It’s also a story about friendship, and the different forms friendship can take, and these themes are explored in detail, and very well, throughout the story. Goss manages to capture Andy’s bumbling-but-strong-willed police officer perfectly, and gives Owen some of the best characterisation and dialogue he’s had, playing to the strengths that come with a character who has experienced death.

The cast are on top form, with Burn Gorman and Tom Price giving stellar performances as Owen and Andy, and Lois Chimimba playing Caite incredibly well. The stakes are unusually low for Torchwood, with this story being much more about its characters. It’s a really nice character piece, slowly unfolding in a way that allows the listener to work out what’s going to happen, and this story ends on a truly heart-breaking note, even if one particular reveal slightly weakens the punch.

By the end, the meaning of the title becomes apparent – it’s not just Owen who’s the ‘gooseberry’. Each of the main three characters in this story is a third wheel, each in a different way. Peter Doggart‘s sound design and Blair Mowat‘s music tie the story together really well, enhancing the dialogue to highlight some of the more emotional moments in the story. This is a brilliantly multi-layered entry into the Torchwood monthly range, proving it to be one of Big Finish‘s strongest.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Torchwood: Gooseberry is available now on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com

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