The story itself is a lot of fun. Building on its witch themes, its no surprise that, once back in the past, a witch finder is not far behind. And from there, while things end up as you might expect in terms of Who ends up on the bonfire (pun intended), how things get to that stage is very nicely done, as the Doctor’s investigations soon end him in a lot more trouble than he’d intended. Its all really nicely done, drawing on the fear of witches at the time, and the lives that were lost as a result.
Its all helped along by a great cast. Specifically Simon Rouse as the Witchfinder John Kincaid who I, of course, remember watching on The Bill many moons ago. The story unfolds at a good pace, and some plot twists, which you’ll probably see coming, aren’t overly laboured.
I also enjoyed Mary Shelley in this story. While not making the impact of Charley or Lucie (and to be fair, this is her second story, whereas she’ll have gotten the focus in the first play I assume), there’s obviously a lot of fun to be had with the Doctor travelling with a famous historical figure. That said, I hope its not something that gets overused, as she tries to avoid discovering too much about her own future, or garners the attention of people who realise who she is. Its fun in this play, but its something that Big Finish will have to be careful with, if Mary is to be a long term companion for the Doctor. That said, its a nice idea, and surprisingly one that’s not really been done a lot, despite the Doctor’s constant name dropping.
I can’t close out a review, without mentioning the new theme that’s been arranged for Paul McGann’s return to the main monthly range. While its sure to cause some controversy, having heard about it on Skaro, I was very intrigued as to what it was going to sound like. And to be honest, I loved how they’ve really attempted to kick loose the theme a bit. It sounds very different from those that have come before it, but I also loved the little nods to the TV movie theme that were worked into it. Good stuff.
The Witch From The Well is an absolutely rock solid play. While it doesn’t feature any big returning monsters, or dark secrets about Gallifrey, author Rick Briggs for me has turned out a great Doctor Who story, that nicely takes the kind of story structure we’ve seen before, but weaves it into something that doesn’t feel like something we’ve seen a dozen times. It feels fresh and plays with some interesting themes.
The Witch From The Well is available from BigFinish.com