Thursday, 19 March 2015

Dorian Gray: Displacement Activity written and directed by Scott Handcock

What's it about: When Dorian is offered an opportunity to discover the truth behind his revival, he agrees to assist the enigmatic Victoria Lowell in stealing a supernatural artefact - the Eternity Canvas - from a exhibition celebrating the occult…

The Painted Man: Dorian admits what his problem is - he never moves on. He's like a fly trapped in amber, never being able to progress from the moment he was brought back to life. Never ageing, never scarring, never changing. A curious, perfect (at least outwardly) constant. He never stopped thinking about Toby but things changed after he died. He gave up his motive for living and decided cancel the deal with the painting. He seems to have made something of a connection with Simon from The Needle, even if Dorian is the only one to think so. Des having Toby in Dorian's life hinder him? Hold him back from taking risks? Strip him of the image of the lonely traveller walking along the timeline but never connecting? Dorian should really stop calling himself the 'mysterious Mr Gray' as it now has a very different connotation since the release of a certain erotic cinematic treat.

Standout Performance: Dorian Gray seems to attract some of the best acting talent and Tracey Childs is another performer that you can rely on absolutely to give a cracking performance. Victoria is textbook enigmatic, alluringly sinister and clearly masterminding something spectacular and with Childs at the helm it is a pleasure to spend time in her company despite the fact that she isn't in a hurry to spill any of her secrets.

Sparkling Dialogue: 'Welcome back to mortality, Dorian Gray!'

Great Ideas: The Eternity Canvas is being displayed at the Erkut Gallery, a mysterious artefact that is the strongest lead to Dorian's resurrection to date. Some gems are said to have healing properties, blood stones in particular. They even have the ability to resurrect the dead from a single memory. Can you see where this is leading?

Audio Landscape: Flowing river, crickets singing, a squeaky attic door, lightning cracking the sky, raining lashing, groaning from the sky,

Isn't it Odd: I'm a little bit disappointed that it has taken until this point to find out anything substantial about Tracey Child's sinister character. She has been the linking factor in the season but we still know relatively little about her or who she works for at the beginning of this story.

Standout Scene: Miles Richardson, Tracey Childs and Alexander Vlahos in a scene together = pure gold. And Bernard Holley back in the fold? This is a dynamite cast.

Result: The is a real NuWho vibe to this season of Dorian which is such a massive departure from the norm that it is bound to split the regular listeners in two. This feels very much like a Davies/Moffat penultimate episode, starting with a relatively mundane investigation into an artefact and building to something altogether more exciting. The closing scene promises a great deal for the final instalment of the season, a potentially catastrophic meeting of immortals. If this story feels like it isn't going anywhere in a hurry that is because it only the first half of a story and taken on those terms it is well paced and enticing. Let's see what the clash of the Dorian's brings: 8/10


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