In the final episode of this series of Brenda and Effie by Paul Magrs, many truths are revealed and enemies old and new provide one final challenge for our favourite landlady in Brenda has Risen from the Grave.
Brenda has made a new home for herself in Whitby and survived various magical and mysterious villains aided by her new friend Effie (a witch, as it happens). In this story a new villain with unique facial features comes between our heroes and sets Brenda to reminiscing about her past life in Victorian England. Can Brenda figure out the clues and save Effie from herself and the clutches of Keith, a latter day Elephant Man? As if an implacable enemy were not enough threat, Brenda also has to face the return of another supernatural foe. Is this to be the end for Brenda or her friend?
While the present day story is great fun and brings in all the joys of Whitby, not least the Christmas Hotel, this episode is at its most powerful when Brenda relives memories of her time in a Victorian freakshow. If we hadn’t guessed her origins by now, a sequence of increasingly macabre and desperate demonstrations of her particular physical abilities leaves listeners in no doubt. This segment of the episode alone is worth the price of purchase and does raise the question of setting other stories with Brenda earlier in her life.
Anne Reid is spot on as the narrator and both Brenda and Effie, with Stephen Critchlow and Dan Starkey providing the other roles (Keith sounds rather like Boycie from Fools and Horses, adding to the entertainment). The writing has Paul Magrs’s usual dry humour and some of the lines will raise a smile, though you have to listen closely else they sneak by as something to notice next time you listen. The direction and production are all up to standard and this marks the end of what has been a very enjoyable series.
With this short run of plays, Brenda and Effie will have pleased fans old and new alike. Fingers crossed for an announcement of Series 2!
INFO: BRENDA AND EFFIE 1.4 BRENDA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE / AUTHOR: PAUL MAGRS / PUBLISHER: BAFFLEGAB / STARRING: ANNE REID, STEPHEN CRITCHLOW, DAN STARKEY / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 19TH