by Ingrid Pitt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Doctor and Peri arrive on the USS Eldridge in the midst of the Philadelphia Experiment
, and discover that the ship's power is being drained off by people from another dimension, led by the dictatorial leader Osloo.
Having the Doctor visit the site of famous historical mysteries is a time-honored device in Doctor Who
, and it works pretty well here. I didn't know much about the Philadelphia Experiment before I listened to this story, but the play does a good job of filling the listener in on the essentials. I like the fact that the beings from another dimension initially have no idea that they're causing problems for the crew of the Eldridge, but that Osloo quickly decides that she's going to conquer Earth once she learns of its existence.
Osloo makes a rather wonderful villain as someone who instantly grasps the essentials of any situation, no matter how far out of her normal experience it is - except that the grasps it only to the extent that it furthers her own ambitions. She is nasty, treacherous, and smart. None of the other secondary characters really match up to her. Once again, though, Peri gets to show both initiative and verbal sass that we rarely saw on TV. (It does make me wonder how all these Lost Stories scripts treated Peri back when the stories were originally written. Was the character being weakened in the process of script editing and getting the episode made? Or is this stronger Peri purely the product of the adapting these scripts for a modern audience?)
I guess one of the problems about a story that involves both time travel and dimensional travel is that there is an awful lot of explanation of how stuff works, which may be why it seems like not a lot happens in this story. The Doctor's plan for rescuing the crew of the Eldridge honestly seems a little lame - I wasn't terribly surprised when it didn't work.
In a great credit to Big Finish's casting, there are no horrible American accents in this one, despite a very large number of American characters. One or two of the American characters do sound a bit flat, particularly Calloway and Ann Tessler, as if the actors had a hard time both maintaining the correct accent and giving a lively performance. (Big Finish did use some North American actors in this production, but I think I'm right that both Calloway and Ann Tessler were played by British actors.) View all my reviews >>