Friday, February 17, 2012

Helicon Prime

I already knew that Frazer Hines could pull off an eerily good Patrick Troughton impression from having heard The Glorious Revolution (the second Companion Chronicle I heard). That doesn’t mean I enjoyed Helicon Prime any the less. This is a stunningly visual audio play by Jake Elliott, told by a post-“War Games” Jamie who gets hit by lightning on the moors of his native Scotland (at least he thinks he does) and remembers all about the Doctor, Helicon Prime, and Mindy Voir. It’s during that convenient period where Victoria is doing her graphology studies[1], and the Doctor and Jamie make up one of the best Doctor/companion combinations. They’re in Helicon Prime, a luxury resort in the future, and I was surprised that a Second Doctor/Jamie sci fi story worked so well on audio. It’s all down to the incredibly beautiful and visionary writing, coupled with Hines’ sensitive reading and the good quality sound effects. I hate the common misconception that radio plays can’t be visual and are just like transferring stage dialogue onto audio. No. The best ones conjure up images so intense even cinema couldn’t touch them, and that’s what Helicon Prime does, with its vivid and imaginative cat-people, schools of fish, people made of glass and who eat globules of light, fountains that flow upwards in “sympathetic gravity,” and a murder mystery with Jamie and the Doctor at the center of it. Mindy Voir, as played by Suzanne Procter, is a memorable companion, a singer who can sculpt with her voice, and yet seems very mid-‘60s somehow.

I highly recommend this one.

[1] Whatever.

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