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Doctor Who: It Takes You Away (Review)

It Takes You Away is a strong contender, along with Demons of the Punjab, for the strongest story of the eleventh season of Doctor Who.

It Takes You Away plays as an allegory. It is something of a fairy tale. It is perhaps the closest that the eleventh season of Doctor Who has come to feeling like a fairy tale, particularly given the conscious choice to root The Woman Who Fell to Earth in a more gritty and grounded universe. It Takes You Away seems like it could have been commissioned during the Moffat era, a lyrical meditation on the idea of loss and mourning. It Takes You Away is a story about needing to let go of trauma, rather than holding on it or carrying it inside.

Reflections and symbols.

To be fair, It Takes You Away is not perfect. There are still some minor pacing issues, particularly with how long the episode takes to get to the meat of the story; there is a sense in which It Takes You Away is three stories stitched together, with the middle segment particularly inessential. There is also the same over-reliance on weirdly specific and overly detailed nonsense techno-babble and mythology that stood out in episodes like The Ghost Monument or The Tsuranga Conundrum.

Still, It Takes You Away has some big ideas, a clever execution, and a strong central theme upon which both might be placed.

Mind the gap.

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A Dream Play at the Peacock

A Dream Play is regarded as one of the defining moments of surrealism on stage. It’s not so much a play as wide variety of clashing ideas and scenarios, which overlap and bleed into each other as if reality itself is bleeding. The net effect quite wonderfully evokes the idea that the audience is somewhere very strange indeed – where characters and archetypes seem just on the verge of making sense before morphing and merging into something new and strange yet strangely familiar. The National Youth Theatre have staged a production at the Peacock Theatre, working off the version of the play “edited” by Caryl Churchill. I put “edited” in inverted commas because – despite not having an annotated version – I can offer a pretty confident guess as to which parts of the play came from her more modern (and vastly less subtle) perspective.

A "dream" cast...

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