Thursday, May 19, 2016

Arrangements for War by: Paul Sutton directed by: Gary Russell: Love Me, That's All I Ask of You

Arrangements for War stars Colin Baker as the Doctor with Gabriel Woolf as Rossiter and Maggie Stables as Evelyn.  It was written by Paul Sutton, directed by Gary Russell and released in May 2004 by Big Finish Productions.


I love you.  So much can come across in those three simple words, the profession of care that leads people to stay with each other for the rest of their lives.  Yet why is it always portrayed as getting everything you ever wanted with no flaws whatsoever.  Arrangements for War deals with love in the exact opposite as the intervention of the Doctor in an arranged marriage pushing two lovers together even though if time had her way they would break it off to save lives.  These actions cause them to have endless bliss yes, but it shortens their lives and we get to see just how much the Doctor and Evelyn work at trying to get these two to their happily ever after while attempting to stop war as they know there is an alien invasion coming in just two weeks.  This places a sense of urgency on the plot as we know everything is going to fail and when things are thrown against the fan, they hit harder than ever and things fall apart.  The smoke rushes in and when it finally clears there are casualties leaving the cast and the listener emotionally decimated as you want to see everything succeed.  You want to see Krisztina and Marcus get to have a happy life together, but of course they aren’t allowed to as the story dictates that not everything works out for the best.  The whole point of the story is that even though the Doctor is trying to save the world, there are going to be casualties and it is best to let people make their own decisions even if it leads to death.


The story serves as catharsis for Evelyn who at the start of the story just wants to have a vacation to think about her decisions and the many deaths that have occurred in the period of time before this story.  She’s still depressed about the death of Cassie and knows that her health is slowly, but surely deteriorating from her heart condition.  She has the Doctor take her to Vilag so she can get a break, but the stress of trying to stop the war is just what she needs so she can have her epiphany that the Doctor saves people and does things for the better.  Maggie Stables gives her very best performance standing out in the final part of the story as she ends up having to comfort the Doctor who wants to change history so the two star crossed lovers can actually survive yet without their moments of love.  Evelyn also gets to fall in love in this story with Governor Rossiter played by the brilliant Gabriel Woolf whose smooth and silky voice just feels like a weary old man who wants to see the turmoil quiet down.  He plays the loving father and the politician both as really good people who want to see everything go well for him and his family.  Paul Sutton keeps the tension high and the emotions running as things fall apart and the characters try to find a way to piece everything together again even if there is no way to get rid of the cracks.


Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor is also great as he has a chance to get himself emotionally invested in the story in an environment where he is the one causing all the problems.  There really isn’t a central antagonist in this story, but it is the Doctor who plays the role of the villain as he instigates events which leads to a lot of the death that permeates the surface of this story.  The music is also an important element in this story as the transitions are all done musically which works well to foreshadow just where the story is going to go.  It integrates itself well especially when everything gets pushed to tension where we get one little scene with Evelyn and Rossiter who both share a happy loving moment where nothing is really said but it is the subtlety of the music that allows the audience to be clued in to the romance blooming between the two of them.


To summarize, Arrangements for War continues the streak of emotional thrill rides for the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn as the plot sees their relationship change and we get to see the seeds of what will be Evelyn’s departure from the story.  The acting is all on top form as everyone involved gets the emotions across in a great way as they work with the music to let the listener to have a complete experience in the story.  100/100

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