Review by Jacob Licklider
Gareth David-Lloyd contributes this month’s release; implying it is set sometime during Series 2 of the show. This releases character focus is looking at the ‘sensible’ halves of the relationships on the show, Toshiko Sato in the Tosh/Owen relationship and Ianto in the Ianto/Jack relationship. A performance of the opera Faust invaded by aliens, many of whom are simply looking to appreciate a different planet’s culture and an alien performer. It’s also Valentine’s Day and both Owen and Jack have essentially ghosted their significant others. It is implied that Jack isn’t available and Owen is still being Owen, going off and being unable to grapple with his own emotions.
The first half of the story is the standard Torchwood Monthly Range tradition of character drama, exploring Tosh and Ianto’s own relationship. In the television series, they never really interacted which makes this a really interesting installment in the range. David-Lloyd has the freedom to forge a path on how these characters really see each other, and it isn’t necessarily in the most positive light. They don’t have the highest regard for each other and Dinner and a Show gives them a chance to really get to know and build a new respect for one another.
Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd give performances worthy of a ‘Robert Holmes’ double act, both providing sarcastic quips and good lines, drinking Welsh prosecco, and honestly just trying to enjoy the opera. There’s also a really good sense of disagreement as to what to do with the potential alien threat at the performance. Sure, as the story goes on, a threat emerges as there is a bloodthirsty species and a conspiracy going on behind the scenes, but early on there really isn’t reason to believe this is a definite possibility. It is entirely possible that these aliens are here for a simple night at the opera.
At this point in the review it is important to note that Dinner and a Show is still a Torchwood release and there is material in this story that is not suitable for younger audiences, about on the level of an episode in the first series of the television show. The disclaimer on this one is not necessarily for cursing, but for sexual content, so take that into account when deciding to buy. The adult content is done mostly for comedy and while there are one or two jokes which do not work, but it is much more tasteful than say Day One or Greeks Bearing Gifts. The conspiracy in the opera is also interesting as the story builds to a climax where Ianto and Tosh have to go onto the stage to stop the performance with dramatic flair. If there was one complaint with the story, it is a script that varies wildly in tone which makes things feel odd. Overall, Dinner and a Show is a lighter release with the same character focus that one can expect from Torchwood. It is not an innovative story with some deep twist, but a good little hour-long mystery. 8/10.
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