Cry of the Vultriss

Posted in Audio by - April 18, 2020
Cry of the Vultriss

Released April 2020

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Continuing with the adventures of the Sixth Doctor, Constance Clarke, and Flip Jackson who were last seen together in 2017’s momentous ‘Static,’ ‘Cry of the Vultriss’ by Darren Jones finds the TARDIS violently ejected from the vortex and crashing on the remote planet of Cygia-Rema. As the newly-crowned and prophesied queen of the Vultriss looks to make first contact with the Ice Warriors, however, the Doctor and his friends soon learn of an ancient secret at the heart of this culture that could do unthinkable damage to half the galaxy if left unchecked.

Whether because of the presence of the ambassadorial Ice Warriors or not, ‘Cry of the Vultriss’ certainly shares some thematic and narrative elements with the Third Doctor’s Peladon stories that likewise highlighted a civilisation on the precipice of diplomatically reaching out to and joining the stars amidst the expected political turmoil that such a decision and its repercussions should entail. With Queen Skye decreed the Fabled One imbued with the deadly power of ‘The Cry’ and set on making the Vultriss fly once again no matter the cost, the tense political divide as her predecessor who believes herself to still be the rightful ruler pushes back is clearly delineated and made more intriguing and layered by the fact that neither of these principle figures is above being driven by purely personal motivations.

Adele Lynch is superb as Vextyr while providing a strong link to her role as Iraxxa in ‘Empress of Mars,’ and Nicholas Briggs as always delivers a stirring rendition of Ice Warrior voices to flesh out this unique race of sometimes-foes and sometimes-allies, and both do well to emotionally deliver a plotline that is far more complex than initially presented. Beyond this, however, the many elements surrounding the mystery behind the ascension of Sky and its conflict as voiced strongly by Natasha Cowley and Caroline Lawrie give ‘Cry of the Vultriss’ an overcrowded feeling that doesn’t fully allow for the maximum development of its bevy of concepts. By themselves, an impending natural disaster and the destabilizing influence of Time Lord technology could be truly crucial plot anchors, but they’re more or less lost amongst the masses here and simply more points to jump to as needed as a somewhat disjointed and oddly padded plot escalates to its cumulative climax.

Where ‘Cry of the Vultriss’ unabashedly succeeds is with its soundscape and imagery, and the avian influences at the core of Cygia-Rema are expertly realized as the good and bad of both the Vultriss and Martian cultures are highlighted. While Constance and Flip are hardly given the most remarkable material as each is used to explore the opposing sides vying for leadership of the Vultriss, Miranda Raison and Lisa Greenwood are never anything less than fully captivating as the aftereffects of ‘Static’ subtly persist. All the more effective, however, is Colin Baker’s ability to tap into a rarely-seen guilt for his demonstrative incarnation that adds a dynamic extra layer to the conspiracy at hand which slowly plays out. However, the cumulative strength of this TARDIS trio deserves a story to match, and the tremendous potential stemming from an incredible wealth of ideas and the return of the Ice Warriors never truly comes to fruition, resulting in a serviceable instalment that relies on its featured players and incredible imagery to maintain its momentum.

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