The Soers’ Ditch

Posted in Audio by - April 29, 2020
The Soers’ Ditch

Released April 2020


As a teen drama that attempted to intertwine very mature themes into its alien yet very human storylines, Class never quite managed to find its intended target audience during the initial digital and later televised runs of its single commissioned series. Yet with a strong and purposeful central voice and a very engaging core cast, Class found a second life at Big Finish with six stories released in September 2018. After a long hiatus, the Doctor Who spin-off makes a surprise resurgence once more with a further six stories released over two volumes.

With Charlie, April, Ram, and Matteusz enduring a disastrous double date night, the four suddenly find themselves transported to another dimension and ensnared in a dangerous familial ritual that puts their very friendships and even existence at stake in Carl Rowens’s “The Soers’ Ditch.” Although it’s all too predictable that the two sides in the skirmish should each pick two of the Coal Hill students to be their pawns once the rules of the competition to determine the rite of succession are stated, this setup nonetheless allows each to showcase moments of intelligence and ingenuity as the situation grows increasingly more dire. Such a setup does likewise mean that there’s little time for any sort of proper reintroduction to the leads, however, and although Charlie is the clear standout here given the unique knowledge that his past affords him, there’s little true exploration of these characters that hasn’t been covered elsewhere to greater effect. Still, Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins, and Jordan Renzo recapture their roles perfectly, and the fact that their characters are so easily able to see through the Soers’ lies speaks volumes and similarly respects the audience’s intelligence without prolonging the inevitable, making the drive for survival and to right this long-standing and terrible wrong they have stumbled upon all the more personal and relatable.

Unfortunately, the Soers likewise have little time to really develop beyond mere devices to let the plot move along as intended. The personal nature of this scheme that has been unchecked for so long never fully manages to develop, and the use of wolves- while intriguing and really well realized on audio- only further distances the primary antagonists from the leads. In a surprisingly expanded supporting cast, Ian Abeysekera, McKenzie Alexander, Ross Ford, Kate Morgan-Jones, Sion Pritchard, Sakuntala Ramanee, and Amanda Shodeko all do well to bring a certain energy to the rituals and traditions on display, but no character has ample time to develop and the plot plays it safe from beginning to end by dutifully following well-trodden pathways until the convenience of technology provides a tidy end. Fortunately, the sound design and direction expertly complement the action and keep any of the multitude of voices from bleeding together into one non-entity. There’s no doubt that “The Soers’ Ditch” has its heart in the right place, but whereas it would be a perfectly serviceable if busy filler episode in the middle of a steady run, it’s a very odd choice to kick off a brand new run after such an extended off period. Still, it shows the confidence of this series even when not at its most innovative, and hopefully the remainder entries manage to capitalize on the potential shown here.

  • Release Date: 4/2020
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