Broadway Belongs to Me!

Posted in Audio by - May 24, 2023
Broadway Belongs to Me!

Released May 2023


Friend and companion Hebe Harrison has disappeared from the timelines, and the Sixth Doctor and Mel begin their search for her in 1930s New York in the opener to Purity Unleashed, ‘Broadway Belongs to Me!’ by Matthew Sweet. Their search takes a most unexpected turn, however, when they discover that Melanie Bush is set to star in the abhorrent Broadway show Behold America! set in a future Fascist United States.

‘Broadway Belongs to Me!’ is in prime position to succeed given its placement as the opener to a new trilogy of stories looking to pick up on the brilliant cliffhanger that saw Hebe erased from existence. Unfortunately, despite a couple of intriguing ideas, it’s a story that squanders nearly all of its potential by offering a standalone and ultimately superfluous adventure that has little bearing on the overall arc. In fact, aside from the Doctor and Mel stating that they are looking for anomalies that may bring them closer to uncovering a cause for their friends’ disappearance, this could realistically have taken place at any point in this pair’s time together. Shockingly, rather than introducing any sort of threat or lead to connect to Hebe in any way, the story explicitly distances itself from the entire arc by instead having this play act as a petty revenge mechanism in which people who feel slighted by the Doctor’s actions but who are so inconsequential the Doctor can hardly remember them scheme to get a compromising picture of him in order to harm his reputation in the cosmos as large. There’s a way to bring untold adventures from the Doctor’s past into the present, but doing so with so little recognition from the Doctor is hardly the most effective and instead creates a feeling that this whole story is utterly unimportant and inconsequential.

While music has been used quite sparingly as a narrative device in Doctor Who, Big Finish has previously found tremendous success in doing so with the likes of ‘Doctor Who and the Pirates’ and ‘The Scorchies.’ Unfortunately, whether Behold America! is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek look at fascism or a rather glib look at America as a whole, the music here adds nothing substantial to plot and ends up coming off as rather repetitive and a means of simply filling time. The Doctor questions whether the play is a musical comedy, and it never is made completely clear just what the intended genre truly is; of course, Sweet takes care to make this a moot point since the audience is filled with those seeking revenge just like the main players, but that and the resulting waving away of somewhat suspect American accents do little to alleviate the rather tedious nature of this part of the tale. Even the story of how Mel could come to take on a starring role as the advertisements proclaim when she arrives is sapped of excitement when a rather banal attempt of incorporating time travel with a future Doctor telling them exactly what to do makes an appearance, a meeting that ultimately culminates in a rather lacklustre conclusion featuring none other than the Sixth Doctor’s famed cat pin.

Sadly, nothing really stands out about ‘Broadway Belongs to Me!’ except for how utterly devoid of consequence it is and how emphatically the ultimate villainous reveal and conclusion double down on that sentiment. With a tenuous plot mirrored by the overexaggerated effort of those looking to embarrass the Doctor, it’s neither the continuation of a brilliant cliffhanger that should have been addressed here nor a highlight of this unique lead duo that has such amazing chemistry, resulting in a rare misfire with only the typical strong performances from Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford as well as sterling dedication from director Helen Goldwyn to truly remember.

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