The Tub Full of Cats

Posted in Audio by - August 27, 2018
The Tub Full of Cats

Released February 2007

Daniel O’Mahony made an instant impact in the Bernice Summerfield range with his debut audio ‘Timeless Passages,’ effortlessly blending immense characterisation with a uniquely vivid imagination that captured the very best of everything the range and character have to offer. As he begins the eighth series with a jump ahead from the return appearance of Braxiatel that ended ‘The Empire State’ to a point with Bernice and Maggie on their way back to the Collection with Braxiatel- Maggie’s father and the would-be murderer of Bernice’s husband- in tow, only something truly impossible will get them through to the far side of the Mim blockade.

‘The Tub Full of Cats’ does anything but follow a predictable course as Bernice tries to avoid the war to get back to the Collection. Although the exact reason for the war between the Draconians and the Mim that sees the Collection caught in the middle has remained rather ill-defined, blood has already been shed, and the bloodshed will likely worsen if they don’t at least try to get back and especially if they are captured. With the Mim quick to fire on anyone who could be smuggling for the Draconians in such a technologically-advanced time period, it’s quaint and refreshing to see an obsolete ship of the twenty-first century providing the heroes’ only hope of safe passage, though Bernice does suspect that employing this ship is just a cost-cutting measure on the part of Braxiatel. Still, the fact that Braxiatel remains such a threat that any number of individuals would destroy their ship if they knew he was on board adds an extra element to the furtive and dangerously tense nature of the story that is best exemplified as Gravity’s Rainbow tries to creep past an armed Mim warship.

Surviving some five hundred years in service has proven just how durable the ship is, and it’s the surreal drama of American Captain Anthony Rogers which initially seems so disparate to the overall drama that surprisingly provides some of the most satisfying and dramatic moments of this very unconventional and eccentric release in which Bernice affirms her knowledge of cats and must accept that she is a far more integral part of the events at hand than Maggie could ever be. Rogers is the first man to have traveled in space and who has been on a life support system for centuries, a living part of the Deselby Matango filter that theoretically can reduce individuals to the point of non-existence before reassembling them at their destination. Originally part of a satellite sent into space in the 1940s, he soon became obsolete and was auctioned off to the highest bidder, becoming a victim of the paranoia and suspicions of humanity. Nigel Pegrams‘s performance treads perilously close to passing into extreme overacting on several occasions, but the extreme emotions stemming from his experiences all make sense and end up lending a satisfying extra layer to a character that initially seems so ill-fitting and misjudged.

Collected Works revealed the Collection to be a malfunctioning TARDIS that needs Braxiatel at its home, and the haywire weather systems seemingly instantly resolving when Braxiatel returns bodes well for a more aggressive countering to the war going forward. Nonetheless, Braxiatel hiding away as his daughter makes the ultimate sacrifice after revealing a very unique if emotionless story of her birth suggests that he will remain rather less than the archetypal hero as he is called back into action aboard the Collection. The end result may not be quite as strong as O’Mahony’s debut, but the more significant serialisation of this franchise combined with uniformly excellent performances, characterisation, and sound design bodes well for the future following a fittingly capable and imaginative eighth series opener that dramatically puts all of the pieces where they need to be for the true fight back.

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