The Poison Seas

Posted in Audio by - August 07, 2018
The Poison Seas

Released September 2003

Just as things seem to be settling down for Bernice Summerfield at the Braxiatel Collection with a sense of family and normality setting in, the Earth Reptile Council sends her on a mission to the planet of Chosan to investigate under the cover of visiting an old friend when a terrorist cell threatens a Sea Devil colony. Something far more ancient and powerful than a terrorist lurks beneath the ocean, however, and every living thing on Chosan is soon at risk in David Bailey’s ‘The Poison Seas.’

Appearing only in 1972’s ‘The Sea Devils’ and 1984’s ‘Warriors of the Deep,’ the Sea Devils are certainly worthy of and overdue for another appearance, but the audio medium only draws into focus just how difficult this race’s voices are to understand when the iconic imagery of their physical appearance is obviously absent. This wouldn’t be so troublesome if the script dealt with a Sea Devil in isolation, but surrounding Bernice by the beings entails very lengthy periods of slowly-paced hissing whispers that more or less all sound the same. Full credit must be given to the actors who fully commit to the authentic experience, but the cadence and tone do rob many scenes of much of the intended emotional impact simply because of the time needed for the words to be articulated, a fact that their computer only accentuates further.

Unfortunately, the story itself can’t quite compensate for the awkward Sea Devil transition to audio despite some clever ideas and a nice paralleling of Bernice’s desire for a home with the Sea Devils’ own as the reptiles are now stuck on this world with an ocean in which they can’t even swim. There has always been at least something of an air of ambiguity regarding the Sea Devils’ actions when taking their history and culture into account, but here they are very much innocent beings, making the fact that the terrorist threat and the sea itself want them gone all the more effective. However, while the script and Bernice really make it no secret that Joanne Carver is the one being searched for given the small cast and confines, Bernice is anything but the proactive figure that she normally is, waiting until a bomb is quite literally about to go off before becoming more forthcoming and assertive. Carver is a character who has been brought up to hate the Sea Devils and who is fueled by her own desire for revenge despite the peace that now exists, but Jenny Livesay plays her as more sulking than resentful and inadvertently takes away from some of the needed emotion of the dialogue in a few key areas.

The added threat from the sea itself is by far the more interesting storyline, and the adapt or be killed mentality employed in what has become the Sea Devils’ forced home is quite poignant and evocative of their current situation. Regrettably, the presence must be given a voice, and though Ifan Huw Dafydd does well as Principal Lumix, the fact that he must drop his reptilian voice to a distinctly human one to portray the threat through Lumix- a fact that goes unnoticed by those around him- stretches the suspension of disbelief to its maximum. All of this is to say that all of the pieces are in play for a genuinely engaging story, but the choice of Sea Devils, the vocal stylings throughout, and a resolution that falls completely flat make ‘The Poison Seas’ one filed with missed opportunities and misfires.

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