Synopsis: Bernice Summerfield and the Unbound Doctor are back in four new adventures by Tim Foley, James Goss, AK Benedict, Guy Adams, and JA Prentice.
Review: In Doctor Who: The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 06: Lost in Translation, Benny and the Unbound Doctor continue their delightfully vexatious tour through the Big Finish universe. These new yarns highlight Benny’s expertise as the pair explore ancient cultures, the nature of language, the reach of history, and the fragility of civilizations. All the while, the strength of their friendship shapes events.
“Have I Told You Lately?” by Tim Foley is a brilliantly structured story that works, because it’s an audio drama. Benny and the Doctor spend a significant portion of the tale either talking to themselves or taking at each other through a mysterious intermediary. They have to learn to listen to each other if they want to solve the mystery of their surroundings and save innocent lives. Throughout, Foley does an excellent job of paralleling the external setting and internal psychological landscapes.
“The Undying Truth” by JA Prentice is a chestnut — trapped in a confined space with an undefined, inexorable threat. There’s nothing new, and yet the story works, because of the character beats and the marvelous indictment of consumer culture. Like Foley, Prentice does a lovely job paralleling the external with the internal.
“Inertia” by James Goss is the most inventive of the four stories. Our heroes have to do nothing for a month and fail purposefully because they are who they are. In the process, listeners get a mind-bending treatise on the deconstruction of history that’s all the more powerful because there’s no time travel involved. What’s more, Goss gives the Doctor some of the most brilliant commentary on board games I’ve ever heard.
“Gallifrey” by Guy Adams and AK Benedict is exactly what it says on the tin, and that’s why it’s awesome. Listeners get the Time Lords’ homeworld through fresh eyes, and no trope is left unturned. The result is oddly therapeutic, leaving our heroes with a necessary perspective as they look toward their next adventures.
As ever, the entire supporting cast is marvelous. That said, there are two standouts. Seán Carlsen returns as Narvin, playing all the layers as only he can after all these years. He’s joined by Siân Phillips as The Inquisitor. She leans into the role, proving that a bit of typecasting can be a glorious thing.
As for the leads, Lisa Bowerman and David Warner remain gifts that keep on giving. It’s obvious they’re both deliriously happy in their jobs.
Thank you, Big Finish. I can’t wait for Volume 07.
- You can purchase Doctor Who: The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 06: Lost in Translation here.
- Audio Production10