Released February 2011
Although the villainous Axons featured in the very satisfying ‘The Claws of Axos’ and created some of the most lasting visuals of the Pertwee era, the intriguing foes have appeared only once- in the 2010 comic ‘The Golden Ones- prior to Big Finish’s ‘The Feast of Axos.’ The lack of appearances is perhaps due to the rather visual nature of the stringy monsters and golden hues, but ‘The Feast of Axos’ proves that the Axons are capable of existing in a nonvisual medium even if this particular story is ultimately a sequel that isn’t completely necessary.
Bernard Holley effortlessly reprises the resounding voice of the menacing Axos after all of these years, and Big Finish manages to recreate the sound and ambience of this tale’s predecessor wonderfully. A dried husk still trapped in the Doctor’s time loop trap, Axos has become a point of focus for billionaire Campbell Irons who intends to revive Axos in order to transmit its power back to Earth, thus solving the planet’s energy crisis. As such, the story provides an intriguing twist on the plot of the original while also throwing in plenty of references to space programmes and exploits of other previous adventures for long-time fans.
‘The Feast of Axos’ is decidedly darker and more morose than ‘The Crimes of Thomas Brewster,’ humanity at a very desperate time and greed still a major driving force. As well as the atmosphere created works, though, even better is the general interaction between the three TARDIS travelers. John Pickard’s Thomas Brewster, of course, creates an interesting dynamic, not just because of his brusque manner but also because he is in so many ways similar to the Sixth Doctor while also being fundamentally different. The Doctor’s determined intransigence causes Brewster to take an even darker path during these events, and even Evelyn is not immune to the very real dangers of her organic surroundings and the emptiness of space. However, it is Evelyn who becomes the emotional glue of the tale, managing to bring out the best in Brewster while also ensuring that the Doctor recognises and accepts it. That said, Colin Baker also gives a very impressive double performance as both the Doctor and his Axonite duplicate, and the Doctor’s decision to not take Brewster back to his own time for fear of what havoc he may wreak with the timelines will certainly have consequences going forward.
The dialogue may not be quite as naturally sparkling as in the previous audio, and there is the occasional bout of overly descriptive dialogue that doesn’t quite sound right, but the overall experience is certainly an enjoyable one. The concept of the vast Axos organism that can extrude small, independent components to help it achieve its vampiric intent is an extremely clever one, and it’s a relief to say that its organic nature makes the jump to audio with minimal loss. A great epic with plenty of more intimate moments between the three leads, ‘The Feast of Axos’ may not be a story that needed to be told, but it toys with the conventions of its televised predecessor superbly and offers yet another strong outing for the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn while furthering the development of the tarnished Brewster and setting the bar high for the concluding act of this Brewster trilogy.