Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Needle written by David Llewellyn and directed by Scott Handcock

What's it about: Reunited with his former colleague, Simon Darlow, Dorian uncovers an centuries-old conspiracy behind one of London’s newest office blocks

The Painted Man: Dorian has had accounts with Parkers for many, many years and thought it was time to drop by and cash in. His million and half isn't just sitting in a vault, it has been invested in businesses and companies, hopefully gestating and growing. The world has changed since he has been away - people aren't buying anymore. His house is worth more now it is dilapidated and covered in ivy than it was in tip top condition - that something very profound about the world of finance. There is a real feeling of the ship that sailed with Simon, a chance that they could have had a shot of it when he was young and virile and less sceptical. He's not really one to hold back because of how somebody looks so I don't think hat age is a barrier...I just think that since Dorian returned from the dead he just isn't interested with connecting with people anymore.  

Sparkling Dialogue: 'The dead can really hold grudge!'

Great Ideas: Wow, what a cynical view on love Simon Darlow expresses. According to him love is fleeting, just a chemical reaction and once it wears off you need a practical long term solution for sharing your life with someone. Or you're fucked. I think he might be confusing love with lust. He's a cheerful sort in general I have to say, commenting that the supposed ethnic diversity of the financial business is all a smoke screen and a box ticking exercise. White, middle class straight men are the most successful people in the business for a reason. He's in a relationship with a woman and he is gay and she is in a relationship and she is a lesbian. Such cynicism. Finally somebody knows what happened in this building and that is why it allowed Dorian and Simon to escape. I wonder if we will ever see him again? The finale scene suggests that somebody is monitoring Dorian's return from the dead and has spies everywhere. I smell an arc...

Audio Landscape: Working on the running treadmill, footsteps, the creaking lift, dogs barking, giggling, church bells, squeaky doors, telephone ringing, screams, the building collapsing around them,

Standout Scene: The last thing you want to hear when phantoms of the past are coming back to haunt you is that your place of work used to be the setting for a plague pit. What hideous phantoms would that project on the future? Especially with the revelation that Lyle didn't even have the bodies moved. He had it built on top of where they laid.

Result: A marvellous Sapphire and Steel-esque tale set in a shifting setting with two well defined characters. David Llewellyn is somebody who has snuck in under the radar as far as Big Finish is concerned and yet you look at his efforts across the various spin offs and he has produced some very nice material (particularly Dark Shadows' The Last Stop, which was extremely creepy and Paradise Frost for Bernice Summerfield that lingers in the memory to this day). I think it is time that he qualified for a main range adventure, I think he might be able to shake things up a little bit and provide a fresh voice. A contemptuous corporate setting featuring a right sleazebag of a banker, The Needle isn't the sort of story to put on when you are looking to discover all that is wonderful with the world but it does make some powerful observations about the less salubrious aspects of humanity that are worth contemplating (if only to try and do something about them). It's marvellous to have Alexander Vlahos back in the driving seat (although I did enjoy the malicious nature of Holley's interpretation in the last story) and I am enjoying this darker, soulless version of the character. Without a heart he gets right to the nub of the problem without any pesky feelings getting in the way. This absolutely shot by in the way that only really smart, really creepy Dorian Gray can: 9/10

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