All of Time and Space

Posted in Audio by - February 24, 2023
All of Time and Space

Released February 2023


As Jacob Dudman’s Eleventh Doctor and Safiyaa Ingar’s Valarie Lockwood continue their travels together in The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles, Valarie quickly learns the power of a story and the power of the Doctor’s story in particular, in ‘All of Time and Space’ by Tim Foley. Credited as being written by Ellery Quest, a character attempting to bring forth a stage production of Doctor Who with characters and events he can so clearly see in his mind, this is a story that openly embraces the meta and at times comes dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall altogether. Complete with Quest singing the theme tune at this pitch in place of the traditional instrumental version, something that is never quite explained in the way that the events of the Doctor’s life in the past and future alike being so vividly seen are due to entrapment in a virtual narrative machine interfacing with an author who has researched the Doctor meticulously in order to write his biography, Foley shows off the breadth of his imagination and of the scope of storytelling potential with radio, comics, and even puppets proving crucial to advancing the plot. ‘All of Time and Space’ does perhaps lean into the absurd a bit too heavily at times with tonal shifts that can be quite jarring, but Quest’s heartfelt desire to prove himself and to be the hero as he traverses the dangerous world his visions have placed him in as well as the implicit danger the Doctor could be placed in were his most vulnerable moments made public manage to create a resonant foundation upon which the duplicate-filled mania can unfold without becoming too overpowering. This is made all the more profound when Quest realizes the true sacrifice the Doctor is asking him to make as he comes to understand he truth of the reality around him, and Leroy Bonsu culminates a genuinely engaging performance at this heartfelt moment that makes Quest one of the more endearing and genuine supporting characters in recent memory. Richard Hope is likewise excellent in the ever-expanding role of Mr Darling who is so against this production going public from the start, and although the resolution is a bit rushed, these two supporting actors throughout perfectly complement the well-established camaraderie of Dudman and Ingar and of their characters to craft a uniquely captivating production.

In Angus Dunican’s ‘The Yearn,’ the Doctor and Valarie arrive on Medrüth, a world with its people under siege and increasingly desperate to find a way to escape their underground bunkers. By now, the Doctor and Val are firm friends and have a fair understanding of each other’s quirks and thoughts, and Val considering creating a bingo card listing the Doctor’s usual actions upon arriving at a new location as well as the locals’ typical reactions expertly suggests just how confident and assured she is even if at times she may tread into more pessimistic territory than the Doctor expects. Again, Dudman and Ingar have a tremendous chemistry together, and that chemistry sets a firm foundation for a surprisingly complex spin on the trusted base under siege formula as the trapped locals die and are resurrected in front of the two travelers. There is little doubt from the start about just how powerful and terrifying the gestalt Yearn can be, but while many stories would be content to simply highlight the Yearn’s attacks on the beleaguered population and find great success with that, Dunican makes the Yearn altogether more frighteningly powerful by revealing it as a gestalt that desired individuality, coming to a barren world to create avatar-like beings from psychokinetic energy that retained the truth of their shared reality inside their minds. The siege being witnessed, then, is due to a violent portion of the gestalt that demands it be one cohesive collective again, adding a tremendously nuanced element to this creature that sets it apart from other gestalt entities that have featured in Doctor Who previously. Samuel Clemens imbues a wonderfully unique and raw vocal quality to his performance to allow the needed emotions resulting from this conflict to manifest, and the strong sense of isolation and claustrophobia pervading every scene only further intensifies those feelings of despair. Through it all, though, hope is never lost, and the surprising journey Val takes as her own emotions come to the fore make for a fitting complement that continues to develop this companion who is already so well-rounded. Like before, there are occasional missteps in pacing, but ‘The Yearn’ is a surprisingly strong and satisfying twisting of narrative conventions.

Obviously, Jacob Dudman has already made a name for himself as a gifted actor and impressionist, and while The Doctor Chronicles range has allowed him the opportunity to showcase his talents, no story has provided him such a unique challenge as James Goss’s ‘Curiosity Shop.’ On a world trapped between two opposing armadas as citizens try to evacuate and resources run ever lower, the Doctor believes himself to be Mr Foreman, the owner of a junkyard filled with curios that need sorting and a particular blue box that draws the attention of a young woman named Valarie. Valarie has grand stories to tell him of an incredible man named the Doctor who once used this blue box to fight against the evils of the universe, but being allowed to tell these stories and obtaining increasingly small rations of food to survive come at a very personal cost, giving Ingar some of her strongest and most emotional work yet as Valarie must trade away her component pieces one by one. Valarie never loses her inner resolve and, more importantly, her implicit faith in the Doctor whom she knows will return soon, but these sacrifices become all the more profoundly resonant when she quickly begins to lose her memories of the Doctor and of her past when she must sacrifice her neural enhancer. Valarie’s cybernetic nature hasn’t focused too heavily in many of her adventures with the Doctor to this point, but incorporating it thus is an incredibly effective way to remind the audience while highlighting how Valarie must accept and adapt to the intensifying situation around her as only she can. Throughout this emotionally and physically tolling process for Valarie, however, it’s Dudman’s vocal mastery that becomes even more memorable as he is tasked with portraying the Eleventh Doctor channeling earlier incarnations while Valarie waits for her friend to well and truly return to her. Becoming another character as Dudman is tasked with doing in all of these stories must be an incredibly taxing request no matter how naturally Matt Smith’s intonations may come to him, but his ability to give surprisingly effective recreations of the Doctors of William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, Christopher Eccleston, and more through a Smith filter is truly a testament to the immense talents and dedication of this young star and hints at how previous incarnations can continue to influence others as the Eleventh Doctor proves to be more than up to the task at hand. The plot itself in ‘Curiosity Shop’ as well as its resulting sound design are fairly minimalist, but Goss purposefully puts the focus squarely on his two leads in the most remarkable and arduous of circumstances with only the brilliant Derek Griffiths as Golas in support, creating an enthralling character piece that both Dudman and Ingar more than rise to the task of exploring and delivering with a remarkable end result.

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