Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Rapture by: Joseph Lidster directed by: Jason Haigh-Ellery: Angel of Music, Guide and Guardian

The Rapture stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace, Tony Blackburn as the DJ, Matthew Brenher as Jude, Neil Henry as Gabriel, Carlos Riera as Gustavo, David John as Liam McShane, Anne Bird as Catriona and Daniel Wilson as Brian.  It was written by Joseph Lidster, directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery with Sound Design by Jim Mortimore and Music by Jim Mortimore and Jane Elphinstone with Simon Robinson and Feel.  It was released in September 2002 by Big Finish Productions.


This is not a story that is meant to be a plot heavy story, but is to explore just how good Joseph Lidster is at writing characters and to continue the development of Ace that would lead into the Doctor’s travels with Hex.  Now although I place the travels with Benny and the rest of the Virgin New Adventures in the gap as I feel that’s how they can fit with Nightshade’s ending and the end of Lungbarrow matching up the console rooms and the fact that Ace is allowed to grow as a character before she travels again with the Doctor by The Harvest, that doesn’t mean this doesn’t set up the new Ace in anyway.  This is Ace’s story as she is the one who reunites with her brother which adds to her emotions from the end of Colditz and ultimately leads to her departure in Love and War.  Her relationship with Liam is great as they go through fights and end up making up which is due to the fact that Sophie Aldred is great here as Ace and David John is great as Liam.  They are almost polar opposites in actions but in thought processes they both disagree with their parents and the decisions made about their lives but address them in different ways.


The two characters also work as foils for the antagonists of the piece Jude and Gabriel who are siblings from another dimension.  Gabriel is the broken one of the two as he thinks he is an angel of God sent to have the actual rapture happen in Ibiza in 1997 through the music they make as a team.  Gabriel is great as he is so damaged and Jude is the caring brother who just wants to live his life to the fullest.  They are both preying on the damaged people who come to party as Ibiza is a place of sex, drugs and alcohol running rampant.  I sympathize with their plight in this story even if they are both so misguided.  They are both extremely well-acted and I found them enjoyable.


In New Adventures fashion the Doctor is a minor character and is paired up with Gustavo a bartender the Doctor saved from the Spanish Civil War and they are both old melancholic men wanting a bit of a holiday which is really good in the story and I just love all the drama that comes from these characters making the decision.  I do have some problems with the story however as Part Four ruins the tension build up as the plot is resolved early on and if this story could have ended with Part Three and a second story was inserted the pacing would be much tighter.  I feel however that I have to comment on the excellent music which deserves a credit in the top of this review as you just feel it from happening.  Now I have been vague about this one on purpose as it is a very love it or hate it so you really just need to listen to this one and make your own decision.


To summarize, The Rapture is a great lead in to the Virgin New Adventures and the adventures with Hex, but there are several problems and the fact that this story has a very adult tone that may put some people off.  The acting and music are both top notch as some of the best of Big Finish with Lidster being a brilliant writer who needs to do more.  Again I just have to tell you to give this one a listen yourself before deciding what you think of the story.  The score I give it is based off my personal enjoyment more than anything as there are so many different reactions to this one.  80/100.

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