AUDIO REVIEW: MINDSET (BLAKE’S 7) / AUTHOR: JACQUELINE RAYNER / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: PAUL DARROW, MICHAEL KEATING, JAN CHAPPELL, STEVEN PACEY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Mindset is the third release in Big Finish’s second series of full cast Blake’s 7 audios. Jacqueline Rayner wrote the story; Lisa Bowerman directed and Cavan Scott was in charge of production
The theme for the series (so far) is that Dayna is missing. The story starts with Vila (Keating) going missing after he has spent some hours looking for clues to Dayna’s location by conducting data mining exercises aided by Orac (Lock). As the crew discover what has happened to Vila, they realise they are facing their greatest challenge: Vila has gone off looking for the Water of Life – is the galaxy ready for an immortal, rarely sober thief?
The plot centres on the exploration of an alien paradise for missing crewmembers and the Water of Life. Where previous stories work hard to give each of the large crew something meaningful to do, this one really cuts back and it’s very much a Cally adventure. Many of the cast have few lines, although this never becomes a problem as the action moves along with gusto and grips the listener as the mystery of the water unfolds. All this and a new character, Reno (Breton).
The extras are also worth a listen, and we learn that the slightly mythic nature of this tale is a deliberate nod to the Tanith Lee stories of the original TV episodes (especially Sarcophagus). While of interest, this isn’t required to follow or enjoy the story, which is packed full of originality and one of the best pieces Jac Rayner has produced for Big Finish in terms of story rhythm.
All this is aided and abetted by Lisa Bowerman’s direction and the now inevitable high quality audio effects (also covered in the extras). Although not a main character, Geoffrey Breton makes a memorable Reno and everything pulls together perfectly.
The only complaint with this story is it was over too soon and has raised the bar for this series even higher. How will next month’s release keep the pace?