Review by Michael Goleniewski
On a remote island in the middle of the sea, a strange supernatural presence is being picked up on the radio, a voice that supposedly knows the future from beyond the grave. The superstitiously hungry Queen Victoria (on behalf of Torchwood) has arrived eager to learn more with a seance, some new technology, and a spiritual medium in tow. But when the manipulative voices call out with truths from the past as well as a dark warning, each person on the island from the highest of royalty to the lowest servant is about to be put in the gravest of danger…..
‘Save Our Souls’ is a spiritual sequel of sorts to the Torchwood audio, ‘Fortitude’ that also happened to feature the prominent Queen last seen on screen in ‘Tooth and Claw’. It’s always exciting to return to Victorian Torchwood and it’s classier tone (including the lovely opening modified theme) and this audio proves to be no exception in that regard. While the premise jumps into the supernatural a bit too quickly with not a lot of build-up, the beautiful script by Scott Handcock gives credence to the power of paranoia and the ways suspicion can cause self-fulfilment whether by itself or by one’s own hand. The mysterious voice at play serves as a chilling and rather surprising influence on the whole affair, driving much of the character drama despite the predictable plot that works to kill off the cast one by one. It’s a piece that works more on the dread of what’s coming rather than the outright terror that such a situation can bring and the fact that we never really get an answer out of what’s going on just makes things all the more gripping and suspenseful.
It helps that the cast is all acting their hearts out in a very minimal but strong quintet; each with their own motivations and a part to play. Rowena Cooper once again steals the show as Queen Victoria around which everything lives or dies. Cool, calm, and collected but still able to be carried away by the excitement of her situation, she commands the loyalty of everyone around her which plays an integral part in how things end up playing out. Kingsley Amadi as Samuel Okonjo is also a powerful presence with a commanding voice in all its forms with an easy-to-guess secret that somehow makes the situation all the more real. Gruffudd Glyn as Owain Pryce is an unlikable put-upon scientific antagonist of sorts, Gwyneth Keyworth’s Florence is an intelligently likeable maid, and it’s all rounded by the gruffly suspicious but still sympathetic Captain Henry played by Wayne Forester. While some of their character interactions don’t amount to much and some get far more time than others, the moments that do stand out really leave an impact culminating in a bleak and powerful ending that puts the very idea of Torchwood’s legacy at stake.
‘Save Our Souls’ brings another strong Queen Victoria story that’s less of a supernatural adventure and more an interpersonal one that plays with realistic fears and drama. It really cements her and her era of Torchwood as more than just a one-off fluke for the range giving her another haunting tale with a very human base at its core to prove herself with and it’s a gripping little side venture into the unknown before we see her again in December. Another well-recommended Torchwood audio and perfect for your creep-tastic late-night listening.
— 8 / 10