Project: Twilight

Doctor Who: Project: TwilightThe Doctor and Evelyn pay a visit to the banks of the Thames in southeast London, but what was originally meant to be a quiet stop becomes a deadly ordeal as they happen upon an assault in progress behind a casino called the Dusk. The proprietors of the Dusk, Reggie Mead and his evasive associate Amelia, take the victim to a surprisingly well-stocked operating room in the Dusk’s basement, and the Doctor forces his way in as well, demanding to know what’s going on. He finds himself embroiled in the plight of a group of people who were subjected to ghastly secret experiments during World War I, but he soon discovers that they’re not powerless – nor are they impervious. Amelia has designs on the future of humanity, intending to make the rest of the human race just like herself and Reggie. But someone named Nimrod is stalking Amelia, intending to end her experiment and bring the top-secret Project Twilight to a close at long last. But can the Doctor trust either Nimrod or Amelia, and will Evelyn survive Amelia’s next experiment?

Order this CDwritten by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright
directed by Gary Russell
music by Jim Mortimore

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Maggie Stables (Evelyn), Holly De Jong (Amelia), Rob Dixon (Reggie Mead), Rosie Cavaliero (Cassie), Stephen Chance (Nimrod), Rupert Booth (Doctor Abberton)

Timeline: after Bloodtide and before The Sandman

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: “So,” I thought to myself, “a cross between a vampire story and The Sorpranos.” I really didn’t expect to enjoy Project Twilight as much as I did, as I’m really not a great connisseur of mob or gangster stories. I’ll admit that there are some which are done really well – The Godfather stands out immediately, as does The Untouchables – but I don’t actively seek out tales of the Mafia. To my utter amazement, I loved Project Twilight. It’s a cracking good adventure with twists, turns, suspense aplenty, and even a cliffhanger at the end of part four which fairly begs for a sequel (though writers Scott and Wright have since said that, while they do have ideas for a follow-up, they’d rather pursue more original ideas than retread old ground).

Doctor Who: Project: TwilightColin Baker and Maggie Stables are at their best here, with the friendly relationship between the Doctor and Evelyn gaining a rather welcome bit of angst as Evelyn chides the Time Lord for never quite telling her the whole story. Holly De Jong gives Amelia a slippery, silky edge in her vocal delivery, but it’s Rob Dixon who really stands out as small-time Mafioso Reggie Mead, a mobster in the old school, baseball-bat-to-the-kneecaps mode. Constantly on the edge of losing all control, Reggie is easily more frightening than any other villain in the story – and while he does get his comeuppance, he almost goes down too easily.

The entire story is buoyed by an excellent musical score filled with low-key menace by Jim Mortimore, who has authored and/or co-authored several Doctor Who novels in the past, but is also known for his musical endeavours. Hopefully Mortimore will get another shot and providing music for the Audio Adventures, because his music makes for one of the coolest sonic cues I’ve heard in any of Big Finish’s productions: a slow cymbal build which ends in a heartbeat, Doctor Whosignifying scene changes (and, in one case, an episode-ending cliffhanger) in a stylish way. If Cavan Scott and Mark Wright do follow up on Project Twilight (which I’m starting to think should have been titled Blood Money had the previous release not also had “blood” in its title), they should bring Mortimore along for the ride.

Fans seem to either love or hate this one. I’m in the former camp – and I find it all the more pleasing because I went into it with a bit of a prejudice and it knocked my socks off.