In Review: Big Finish: The Island of Dr. Moreau

I finished The Island of Dr. Moreau and wept — openly wept.

Synopsis: Shipwrecked in the South Pacific, Edward Prendick finds unlikely salvation in the company of Montgomery – a disgraced medic bound for distant shores, in charge of an unusual cargo.

Their destination is a mysterious jungle isle where the night is split by terrible cries, and where inhuman creatures walk upright on two legs. When Prendick meets the man who lays down the law, he realises that his nightmare is only just beginning.

For this is… The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Review: I finished The Island of Dr. Moreau and wept — openly wept. For someone like me, who volunteers at my local Humane Society, there’s a level at which HG Wells’ 1896 anti-vivisection treatise isn’t allegory. Once I recovered my composure and analytical faculties, I realized that adapter/director Ken Bentley had done a truly excellent job.

Primarily, Bentley altered Wells’ original framing device. He eliminated the inheriting nephew reading a manuscript deceased Prendick left behind. Instead, he used another device Prendick alluded to in the manuscript, a psychiatrist, to give the protagonist a sounding board. As a result, the story gained immediacy, and Prendick gained a living, present voice. Apart from that, however, Bentley left the text largely intact. He only shortened or condensed scenes where necessary to address pacing issues.

Bentley, the director, aided Bentley, the adapter, by allowing Ronald Pickup, John Heffernan, and Enzo Cilenti the space for pitch perfect performances. Bentley, the director, also relied on Big Finish’s marvelous audio engineers to create the visceral soundscape the narrative required.

I give this production a perfect 10 out of 10 in all categories. If readers will please excuse me now, I’ll be continuing my recovery from Old Yeller level trauma.

  • You can purchase The Island of Dr. Moreau here.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor Matt Fitton

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Written By: HG Wells, dramatised by Ken Bentley

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast

Ronald Pickup (Doctor Moreau), John Heffernan (Edward Prendick), Enzo Cilenti (Montgomery), David Shaw-Parker (Captain/ Constans), John Banks (Mate-LV/ M’Ling/ Satyr-Man), Tim Bentinck (Helmar/ Captain John Davies/ Ape-Man), Daniel Goode (Seaman/ Mate-I, Dog-Man).

Other parts played by members of the cast.

10
Big Finish: The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Story
    10
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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