Dinner and a Show

Posted in Audio by - June 17, 2020
Dinner and a Show

Released June 2020


While plenty of Big Finish’s monthly Torchwood audios have added to or accentuated established mythology that the television series touched upon, the range’s undoubted triumph is the ability to explore relationships between certain leads that were often sidelined to progress the overall narrative arc. With Owen a no-show for Toshiko’s not-Valentine’s-Valentine’s Night at the opera in Gareth David-Lloyd’s ‘Dinner and a Show,’ Ianto turns up with bad news in what could be their final curtain.

Interestingly, Tosh and Ianto are hardly the best of friends or colleagues here, each sharing preconceived and not entirely flattering preconceptions of the other while slowly forming a burgeoning if begrudging mutual respect as the alien threat becomes known. Both are incredibly strong-willed and quick to voice their opinions, but the different opinion each has regarding how to handle a potential incursion by aliens with an initially unknown intent helps add another dynamic layer to the pairing that likewise emphasizes the lack of established protocols for Torchwood operatives. David-Lloyd, of course, knows Ianto better than anyone, and it’s no surprise that his writing and portrayal perfectly capture the layered nuance of this man who knows he is capable of so much while longing for so much more, even adding in an understanding of Owen that Tosh herself has not quite attained. Fortunately, however, his writing of Tosh is equally strong, and Naoko Mori gives a superbly ranged performance that captures not only Tosh’s confidence but also her insecurities, the idea of unrequited love and the true power of music and emotions proving to be strong bonding forces that give ‘Dinner and a Show’ a genuine emotional core to balance out the lighter and more comedic moments that pervade the release.

While Torchwood delves into more comedic territory relatively rarely, David-Lloyd manages to capitalize on nearly all of the intended jokes despite a fairly variable tone throughout that can be a little disconcerting. Styling the narrative in this more disjointed fashion does unfortunately keep the overall threat from reaching a more meaningful potential, though the script nicely plays with the initial idea that the aliens may be innocent bystanders simply enjoying a night out before the bloody conspiracy is revealed. Still, this menace never quite manages to create a lasting impact despite ably filling its purpose of allowing Ianto and Tosh to further develop as individuals and colleagues, meaning that the overall story is a little bit less that some of its incredibly strong component parts.

‘Dinner and a Show’ isn’t necessarily the most resonant or innovative script, but it confidently thrusts its two leads into the spotlight and further defines the nuanced emotions that each hinted at and began to explore in Torchwood’s earlier years on screen. This is a pairing that still has so much untapped potential, and hopefully Big Finish gives David-Lloyd and Mori more opportunities together to further develop their characters’ very unique relationship. It’s these characters who are undoubtedly the stars of this release, and fans of either will assuredly be pleased even if the story as a whole doesn’t quite reach the heights that this range has achieved so often.

  • Release Date: 6/2020
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