Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
Well of course Big Finish are doing H.G Wells. As some of the best story tellers of the day, why wouldn’t they produce the works of one of the greatest imaginations of all time?!And what an opening to this range. Sir John Hurt is genius casting. Who could better do justice to such a complex man? He needs to be undoubtedly a genius, but one driven mad by his ambition and the circumstance us a glimpse into the softer, more civil side of the character. I feel it’s needed for the poignancy of the story they we feel something for the character, as evil as he might turn as the story goes on.
“Your meddling will bring you despair”
Likewise it’s a steller supporting cast. My favourites being the Inn Keeper and her gentleman friend played by Annette Badland and Big Finish and Doctor Who favourite Dan Starkey; who again shows his great range. These two play off each other magically and both show the good and welcoming side to these characters and also of their nosiness, which reminds me somewhat of the villagers in Frankenstein.
“Insects, worms, infinitesimal creatures, none of you will ever be worthy of trapping me…”
The language of the piece is magical as well. I do not claim to know the book nearly well enough to say what is H.G’s writing and what is adaptation but I can certainly not tell where one ends and the other begins. This feels like a classic tale and a type of story telling you just don’t get today. The narration by Blake Ritson & Peter Noble (which the adaptor Jonathan Barnes reveals in the extras as his device) weaves seamlessly into the drama and the degree of time hoping between the titular ‘Invisible Man’ in the present and how he was transformed is clear and easy to follow.
There is a lovely scene where many towns’ folk are gathered where we are treated to their names and professions that really makes you feel like you can see them all. I think the only part which seemed a to go a little long was the pseudo-science Well’s put in about how the transformation might be possible. Maybe this could have been left to the imagination, but even then the language used is so poetic to be forgiven.
It shows something that I was at no point thinking how visual this story would usually be, as you are taken there by the words and the audio landscape is so vivid and excites your imagination.
Finally I will give a well-deserved nod to the direction of Ken Bentley and the music of Jamie Robertson which perfectly finished the soundscape of this tale.
If you have never strayed from the Doctor Who releases of Big Finish, this should be the title to do so for! This also acts as a fitting tribute to John Hurt. We have one more War Doctor set from him to look forward to, but it feels right that this amazing performance is one of his last as he shines as much as he has in any performance.
I give this 9/10 bandages.
Buy it here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-invisible-man-1598
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Check out our tribute to Sir John Hurt
Check out our Big Finish Reviews