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Audio Review: Mirror – Ep 1.4 of Big Finish's Classic Audio Series

BLAKE'S 7 - THE CLASSIC AUDIO ADVENTURES - Episode 1.4: Mirror

Review by Jackie Emery

Starring:
Gareth Thomas (Blake), Paul Darrow (Avon), Michael Keating (Vila), Jan Chappell (Cally), Sally Knyvette (Jenna), Brian Croucher (Travis) and Alistair Lock (Zen and Orac)
with Bethan Walker as Locklan and Hugh Fraser as The President

Written by Peter Anghelides
Sound Design and Music by Alistair Lock
Cover Art by Damien May
Directed by Ken Bentley
Produced by David Richardson for Big Finish Productions


Orac has tracked Space Major Kade – the man who killed Jenna’s father – to the planet Vere. Jenna wants her revenge, but that must wait. Blake needs her to pilot the Liberator to Stellidar Four, where he has a small window of opportunity to solve the mystery of a new Federation device. It’s a daring plan. And it could be the beginning of the end for the Liberator crew...

The previous episode in this all-cast series ended with an intriguing hook - the Federation have a new device that could pose a severe threat to Blake and the crew. Mirror continues the story: Blake insists that Jenna is required to fly the Liberator to Stellidar Four, while Cally goes to look for Kade on Planet Vere. The Liberator sets off with a furious Jenna at the helm. "Well done, Blake," says Avon, "exactly what we need – an angry pilot!"

Mirror is an excellent episode. The action intercuts between Stellidar Four, Planet Vere and the Liberator, as the characters find ways of pursuing their own agendas. Jenna wants Kade, Travis wants Blake, Blake wants to find the Federation's device, Avon wants to find out how it works and Vila just wants to stay safe. The plot twists and turns and is replete with disobedience, betrayals and double-crossings. There are plenty of action and fight scenes, as well as quieter dialogue scenes that typify the best of B7. My only nitpick is the choice of a couple of names; one sounds like a well-known blackcurrant drink while 'Planet Vere' elicited in me a reaction of 'Ah, bless!' rather than 'Ooh, danger!' But it's a nice tribute to the late, lovely Mr Lorrimer.

In Warship, Peter Anghelides demonstrated how well he writes for the whole cast. Mirror is likewise well-balanced, and all the characters – including the computers – get plenty of air time and the chance to show off their special skills. The dialogue sparkles with sniping and humour, witty put downs and angry exchanges, and the cast seem to relish saying their lines; there is great energy and verve in their performances.

In addition to the regular cast, Mirror features the return of Travis, who leaves a trail of death and destruction in his quest to find Blake. Brian Croucher sounds the same as he did thirty-five years ago, and according to his interview on the CD extras, is having a lot of fun recreating his role. This story also introduces the President of the Terran Federation, played with wonderful smoothness by Hugh Fraser. Bethan Walker is brilliant as new character Locklan, about whom I can say no more without revealing spoilers. Special mention goes again to Alistair Lock - not only for playing Zen and Orac, but for his additional performance as Space Major Kade.

The sound design and music – also by the multi-talented Alistair – provide rich soundscapes for the different locations. The huge Federation facility orbiting the gas giant Stellidar is nicely contrasted with the tents and marketplace of the exotic Planet Vere, while on board the Liberator all the well-known sound fx are lovingly and accurately reproduced.

This episode has a cliff-hanger ending that is going to keep me on tenterhooks until the next instalment is released! The teaser trailer for Episode 5 hints that there is more to come from Travis and the President, together with the return of Anthony Howell as Gustav Nyrron. Cold Fury sounds chilling in every sense of the word...

Mirror comes with a good selection of extras. In addition to the trailer for the next episode, there is another series of cast interviews, beginning with Brian Croucher and ending with an out-take and gales of laughter from Paul Darrow! There is also a copy of Vortex Issue 62, which features an interview with Sally Knyvette.

Mirror is available from Big Finish on CD and digital download here: 1.4 Mirror
Details of forthcoming episodes in this series are here: Full Cast Series
The full range of Big Finish's B7 range is here: B7 from Big Finish

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