Posted in Website by - May 17, 2018

Released June 2017

Big Finish is no stranger to experimenting with the constraints and nuances of the audio medium over its storied history, and ‘torchwood_cascade-CDRIP.tor’- or ‘Cascade- does anything but the expected as Scott Handcock brings to life the tale of a sentient computer virus that hunts down online pirates and kills them without any discernible evidence. As chilling as this notion is given the power of media conglomerations and the continued battles involving both the financial harm of illegal downloading and the importance of data privacy in an increasingly insecure world, it’s the presentation that stands out most as the corrupted media file is experienced in a fragmented manner out of sequence and from differing perspectives. With distortion and interference enhancing the overall experience, the direct addressing to the audience that continuing to listen to this file will result in harm, the sequences that glitch and are repeated, and the fragments of other Torchwood tales bleeding through create one of the most unnerving and surreal experiences ever to come out under the Torchwood banner.

The story itself revolves around a fairly traditional tale of unrequited love, but the corrupted nature of this file allowing future moments relative to the plot to be heard enhance the overall emotional impact of this central relationship by referencing the harrowing events of ‘Exit Wounds’ about which the world at large will never know and from which assumptions will have to be made. Called to London by an old Torchwood colleague named Stephen to help look into the disappearances of several people with the exact same birthdate at the exact same time across the globe, Toshiko Sato uses all of her natural skills to try to determine how and why these people came to be targeted and just why Stephen believes that he is next in line. Handcock has proven before to be a master of implementing a macabre and tense tone, and ‘Cascade’ makes the most of his direction of his own script to amplify the inherent danger and unknown quantity of this threat. As the menace continues to amplify and increase its spread around the world, the inclusion and questioning of regular people who suddenly find themselves in mortal danger for what they perceive to be a victimless crime is a fantastic way to ensure that the general threat to the world at large is never forgotten.

‘Cascade’ bravely reveals its hook right at the beginning rather than saving it for a late twist like most stories would, and it confidently tells its creative and disturbing tale that will deliver different nuanced experiences to different listeners and even to repeat listeners at different times. Naoko Mori gives one of her strongest performances as the socially awkward but utterly brilliant Toshiko yet, and Robbie Jarvis as the emotion-laden Steven expertly leads an engaging guest cast that also includes Ashley Kumar and Rachel Handshaw. The format of the story makes it difficult to simply write about the story in any great depth, and ‘Cascade’ absolutely needs to be experienced in real time to enjoy one of the most novel and inventive instalments in Big Finish’s many ranges in quite some time. Although it’s not a story that will necessarily all slot neatly together for every individual listener instantly, it’s certainly engaging and appealing enough to warrant repeat listens regardless.

  • Release Date: 6/2017
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