REVIEW: THE ENGINE OF DOOM / AUTHOR: GARETH PARKER, ROBERT VALENTINE / PUBLISHER: THE WIRELESS THEATRE COMPANY / STARRING: NEIL MCCORMACK, JOHN HOLDEN WHITE, ANDREW SHEPARD, JOSEPHINE TIMMINS, ASHLEY MCGUIRE, SILAS HAWKINS, PHILIP LAWRENCE, STEPHANIE HILL, MIKE GARNELL, MATTHEW WOODCOCK, NEIL FROST, JANE DEANE, JAMES DUCKWORTH, JEREMY STOCKWELL, NICHOLAS PARSONS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Wireless Theatre Company completes their second series of the Legend of Springheel’d Jack with The Engine of Doom.
The story starts with DI Jonah Smith (Finney) assumed dead, having jumped into the Thames following his encounter with Springheel’d Jack and facing arrest. He quickly reappears and seeks help from Lizzie Coomber (Timmins), whom he met in the travelling circus. He needs to keep his freedom as there is a plot threatening Queen Victoria that centres on a mysterious magical box used by stage magician Cuthbert Leach (Parsons).
The story is mostly action-based and largely takes place on a train travelling out of London to take Cuthbert and Lizzie to perform for Queen Victoria. Jonah needs to get on board to stop the magical box getting anywhere near her majesty and enlists the help of his journalist colleague Rymer (Holden-White). As he strives to overcome various obstacles, he gets clues as to who Springheel’d Jack might be, building on what we learned in the previous episode.
There are also some surprises and nice connections to other pieces of Victorian popular culture. Listeners should make sure that they listen all the way past the credits for an extra scene. This episode may not have been as creatively inspired as the previous two but it is a very well-told story with superbly realised characters.