Thursday, May 5, 2016

Davros by: Lance Parkin directed by: Gary Russell: He'll Take Out Your Eyes and Laugh While He Does It

Davros stars Colin Baker as the Doctor with Wendy Padbury as Lorraine Baynes, Bernard Horsfall as Arnold Baynes and Terry Molloy as Davros.  It was written by Lance Parkin, directed by Gary Russell and released in September 2003 by Big Finish Productions.

 

The Dalek stories of the Classic Series after Genesis of the Daleks all are overshadowed by the character Davros, the Daleks’ creator with the Daleks themselves being second hand to support Davros as a main villain.  This may make you think that Davros cannot be used without the Daleks being there, but Lance Parkin proves that that is not the case.  This story sees Davros after the events of Resurrection of the Daleks crash land on a planet while in stasis and being taken in by the Baynes family, a couple who are the CEO’s of TAI where we would get the idea of a big bad corporation, but of course Parkin avoids this plotline as while TAI is corrupted they aren’t irredeemable as the Baynes’ really do want the best for their company and the galaxy.  It isn’t long before the Doctor arrives investigating a lead that the Baynes are going to let off several thousand people so they can get more money, but when he sees Davros he intervenes.  What follows is the Doctor being forced into working for TAI and trying to figure out what exactly Davros is planning as he is evil and could never actually change.  Could he?

 

Yes this story deals with the idea that Davros could actually become a force for good as the story explores his past with a great performance from Terry Molloy.  Molloy gets a chance to play Davros before his accident where we see that he fell in love, but when he pushed his lover away so he could focus on the war, he became extremely paranoid and jealous when she started seeing another man.  He goes so far as to get her boyfriend executed as a Thal sympathizer and cannot believe he is jealous.  Davros in the present also becomes very sympathetic in the story as he really thinks that he can change and if it wasn’t for the state of his mind, he actually could reform and become a better person.  Molloy’s performance is only enhanced by the performance of Katarina Olsson as Shan, Davros’ lover.  It is Shan who had the idea for the Daleks and Davros stole her work.  She and Davros shared everything with each other as they both know Kaled secrets that not even the public are privy to.  While Shan is Davros’ foil in the flashback sequences, it is Loraine Baynes, played by previous companion Wendy Padbury, who is foil for Davros in the present segments of the story.  Loraine is the most prominent expert on Davros, having written multiple books on the controversial scientist and feels like Davros was a martyr as he only wanted to see his own race survive and not a madman who wants to see his own race as superior.  Padbury is a great actor here as even though it is obviously the woman who played Zoe, Padbury doesn’t sound like Zoe as the voice is almost deeper, more academic than and not as young as Zoe was.  Part of that is due to age, but Padbury shows she has the chops for voice work.

 

Colin Baker as the Doctor steals the show here as he gives every line an almost over the top delivery that is just great on the ears.  The over the top nature of the performance never goes on silly, but stays in the range of being bombastic.  The Doctor knows how to get around computers and can play the fool, even if others don’t believe him.  He abhors working with Davros and treats him like the tea lady which is just hilarious and stays the voice of reason throughout the story.  The Doctor is paired up with Arnold Baynes who is basically the Doctor if he owned a corporation.  Baynes wants the good of all but he is also extremely greedy and the prospect of getting Davros under his control is great which makes it extremely satisfying when Davros takes over the company.  Baynes isn’t an evil man, but he isn’t opposed to do evil things when there is no real evidence that would link is family to the crime.  Baynes is played by Bernard Horsfall who is just great as Baynes especially considering how old he was when doing this performance.

 

Props must be given to Gary Russell who is great at getting the transition to the flashbacks as they just happen without any clich├ęd music clue to let the audience know that we are in the past.  Russell also designs Davros’ demise at the end in a great way as the sound is moving between your ears as Davros’ mind starts to deteriorate into nothing.  Parkin also gives away early on who is going to survive this story in a really clever way that I don’t want to give up as the beginning and ending of this story is just great.

 

To summarize, Davros is another of Big Finish’s perfect stories with a great script that lasts two and a half hours, but never drags.  The acting is great with Terry Molloy and Colin Baker having some of their best moments together with direction that is perfectly done by Gary Russell.  100/100

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