Orr

Posted in Audio by - May 20, 2018
Orr

Released August 2017
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With the beginnings of a new Torchwood team in place and aliens threatening to undermine both the politicised and restless Cardiff as well as the team itself, Juno Dawson’s ‘Orr’ continues to develop this burgeoning but dynamic recreation of Torchwood Three with the titular Orr. Vincent Parry used to be the most powerful property developer in the city, but he has come to regret the agreement he once made with the mysterious Jo-Redda, knowing implicitly that trying to stop it will cost him everything as Torchwood’s members find themselves confronting their deepest thoughts and desires.

The backstory of Orr is fascinating and instantly makes her one of the purest and most intriguing characters within the Torchwood universe. Genetically engineered by military scientists to change into any form that appeases any person present to make killing more difficult, members of Orr’s species are incredibly rare and identify neither as male nor female as they can change their size, shape, colour, and structure to quite dramatic effect to achive their purpose. Reacting to any sentient being as an unconscious reflex rather than a deliberate action, Orr describes her life as incredibly lonely and built solely upon others’ desires rather than her own, and Jo-Redda gifted Orr to Vincent Parry during which time she took on the form of his deceased wife. With Parry dead and her explosive control necklace that will destroy all of Cardiff if it goes off activated, she reveals her good-hearted nature by trying to escape into an unpopulated area, inadvertently coming into contact with a determined Torchwood and surviving the attempted murder alongside a resolute Jack in a remarkably tender moment where the two commiserate over all that they have lost as Jack tries his best to hide Ianto and that raw pain from Orr. As Orr agrees to help Torchwood while balancing her freedom with the fact that she is still desperately wanted dead, it’s clear that this very unique individual will have an important role going forward and represents another engaging addition to this new team that is built upon so many unique abilities.

Sam Béart gives a profoundly powerful performance throughout as Orr and lends an incredible amount of depth to a character who understands others so implicitly and who still has so much to learn about the human condition, but the strongest moments of ‘Orr’ come during her interactions with others because of the hidden facts they subconsciously reveal and the immense emotions they uncover and expose. Even the ever-composed Colchester is momentarily disconcerted when Orr quite touchingly manifests as his husband who is still the source of his deepest desires, albeit with an appearance from ten years ago. However, the revelation that Tyler’s desires still focus so clearly on a former lover whom he adored before he sabotaged the relationship because of a fear and paranoia stemming from just how much he found himself loving and needing this man is terrifyingly powerful and dark and highlights the immense range of both Jonny Green and Béart as they try to come to terms with the emotions beneath what has been shown. ‘Orr’ doesn’t necessarily advance the overall plot in any immensely measurable way, but its tense moments built into the slower pace and intensely intimate moments afforded the leads and newcomer alike make this one of the most unique and satisfying instalments in Big Finish’s ever-expanding Torchwood catalogue. With the conclusion to the first third of Aliens Among Us imminent, all of the pieces are in place for the Sorvix story proper to truly take precedence and dictate the overall course of this set.

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