In Review: Big Finish: The Scarifyers: The Gnomes of Death

The sequence in which Terry Molloy’s Professor Dunning has to drunkenly rumba through a crowd of demonic garden gnomes best encapsulates this story and the series as a whole.

Synopsis: When MI:13’s mortuary begins filling up with the disembodied feet of gardening enthusiasts, Harry Crow (David Warner) and Professor Dunning (Terry Molloy) are plunged into a sinister world of garden allotments, topiary fowl and gaudy garden ornaments.

When the landlord of Harry’s local, the Six Bells, is also found minus his snakeskin brothel creepers (and their contents), Crow and Dunning are plunged into a more sinister world still – of Morris dancers, exceptionally strong ale and all-powerful ancient Indian deities.

What is the dark secret of the Six Bells privy? Are the Beer and Real Ale Association merely hirsute eccentrics, or something else? And what is the real purpose of Morris dancing? Crow and Dunning discover that horticulture can be a dangerous business, as they find themselves pitted against their shortest foes yet… THE GNOMES OF DEATH

 

Review: On a dark and stormy day like this one, The Scarifyers: The Gnomes of Death is the perfect treat. There’s just enough plot for a structurally coherent narrative. However, writers Simon Barnard and Paul Morris give the actors plenty of room for the satire and character beats. The sequence in which Terry Molloy’s Professor Dunning has to drunkenly rumba through a crowd of demonic garden gnomes best encapsulates this story and the series as a whole.

Every comic team needs a straight man, and the marvelous David Warner is the ultimate straight man. His deadpan exposition and summation of the supernatural absurdity is perfection. He’s the anchor that keeps the story from floating away into completely inconsequential ether.

Also, I heartily recommend listeners stay for the extra vignettes at the end. Terry Molloy gives a tour-de-force performance, and we get a blast from the past with the much missed Nicholas Courtney.

Written By: Simon Barnard & Paul Morris

Directed By: Simon Barnard

Cast

David Warner (Harry Crow), Terry Molloy (Professor Dunning), Matthew Holness (Thomas Kelley), David Benson (Alexander Caulfield-Browne/ Captain Hawkins), Ewan Bailey (Arachius Fitch/ Albert the gardener), Lizzie Roper (Ettie the Barmaid/ Mrs Crevice), Phil Rose (Bunny Cheesewright), Stuart Silver (Doctor Slither/ barman), Lucy Scott (Ethel/ Miss Crevice)

9.3
Big Finish: The Scarifyers: The Gnomes of Death
  • Story
    8.0
  • 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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