Adrian Poynton’s Dethras is an interesting addition to the Fourth Doctor range. Its plot is something of a staple of Who – and I won’t go into much more detail for fear of giving too much away – but Poynton’s execution is full of, well, the bonkers. And I do love a nice bit of bonkers in my Who.
Bonkers, you ask? Well, yes. A WWII (or thereabouts) submarine that’s literally out of this world leads quickly to a talking chimp and marauding space cockroaches (well, that was my take) – and things don’t get all that much saner from thereon in. But the mark of a well-written play is in the resultant insanity’s consistency, and it has to be said that Poynton’s story really does continue to hang together. The bonkersness is only a backdrop to an exploration of things that, well, it has to be said have been well explored before in Who, but are none the worse for being explored again. A complete bastard who has a reason for being so. A guilty party who feels the guilt 110%. A talking chimp.
Nick Briggs directs, Lalla Ward and Tom Baker star, Jamie Robertson does the sound design and music, and David Banks goes “eek” a fair bit. And they all do it with the customary aplomb. It’s pretty-much flawless, and – apart from the lack of K9, who really should be contractually obliged to be in every Big Finish production (whether Tom Baker’s there or not) – it’s a great addition to the range. More from Poynton soon, please.
Dethras is available from Big Finish
Written By: Adrian Poynton
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Alistair Petrie (John), Shelia Ruskin (Flague), Josh Bolt (Philip), Brian Vernel (Robert), John Banks (Franklin), Jane Slavin (Xankari/ Teacher).
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs