Last of the Colophon

Posted in Audio by - February 17, 2017
Last of the Colophon

Released May 2014

Jonathan Morris’s ‘Last of the Colophon’ continues the audio adventures of the Fourth Doctor and Leela, the intrepid duo this time landing upon the dead world of Colophos alongside the crew of the Oligarch survey ship. As the presence of a strange communication from the wheelchair-bound and bandaged Astaroth Morax- a being who claims to be the last of the Colophon race- suggests, though, the truth is not as obvious as it seems.

‘Last of the Colophon’ is an extremely confident script that easily breezes along from beginning to end without ever losing its path, but the path taken is an extremely predictable one. This unfortunately means that it comes as no big surprise that the last surviving member of a thought-dead race ends up having megalomaniacal schemes and thoughts, nor that the big revelation serves as the centerpiece of the release’s cliffhanger. However, the script does still take measures to treat the revelation as an earned surprise rather than an inevitability, and the hints such as the door that can only be opened from the inside intimate the concealed dangers at hand. Morris also does well with a vivid- if harrowing- backstory regarding the civilization on the depleted Colophos with the tale of a pathogenic strain resistant to all known medicine quickly ravaging the population. Only Morax and his dubious self-experimentation managed to survive, but his own doomed people condemned him to a life of imprisonment under the eye of a robotic nurse after they found him responsible for releasing the pathogen in the first place. Morax’s resultant blindness and seeming invisibility are nicely incorporated into the script as well, allowing experimentation with audio conventions as visual narrative tropes must by necessity be avoided.

The highlight of this release is the actual performances, and in particular those of Louise Jameson and Gareth Thomas as Leela and Morax square off against each other. Even if it seems a bit odd that the Doctor should question Leela’s cultural exposure after she has traveled with him for so long, Morris’s ability to put into words the thought processes of Leela and Jameson’s ability to bring out a more primal edge to her character as she responds to the aggression of her foe are both superb. While the invisibility does in some instances lead to some overly descriptive dialogue to explain exactly what the characters are seeing and doing, the compromise here works in the story’s favour.

The Fourth Doctor Adventures has pretty much remained rooted in tradition and nostalgia, and ‘Last of the Colophon’ does not attempt to break that pattern in any respect. However, Jonathan Morris has an incredibly deep understanding of everything that makes the Fourth Doctor era so beloved, and even a fairly straightforward tale from his pen that doesn’t quite deal with the questionable morality of its supporting cast as much as might be expected manages to capture the exact spirit of that era effortlessly. Bolstered by incredible sound design and magnificent performances, ‘Last of the Colophon’ is another entertaining installment in this run of audios, though not one that pushes the lead characters or their audience into new or unexpected territory.

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