Big Finish Review: Torchwood - Goodbye Piccadilly
The monthly Torchwood character pieces from Big Finish continue with Goodbye Piccadilly. This time the focus in on Tom Price's Sergent Andy Davidson, who finds himself transported back to 1950's Soho to aid rogue Torchwood member Norton Folgate (Samuel Barnett).
Goodbye Piccadilly has been written by James Goss and directed by Scott Handcock. It is available to download at the Big Finish site here and goes on general release on 31st August.
Here's the synopsis.
Sgt Andy Davidson wakes up in the 1950s. He’s chained to a bed, his clothes are missing and the building’s on fire. Norton Folgate needs his help.
The streets of Soho are swarming with gangsters, rumours and betrayals. Somewhere out there is a mysterious alien artefact, and Andy and Norton have to get to it first. Because tonight they’re going to save Torchwood.
Goodbye Piccadilly is a rollercoaster of a story, packing a hell of a lot into its 50 minute run time. There's no time to catch your breath as Andy wakes up naked, handcuffed to a bed next to Norton, 60 years in the past and takes a perilous journey through the seedy, dangerous world of Soho, brought to life by a terrific (and we'll researched) script by James Goss and bold direction by Scott Handcock.
It is certainly the most 'adult'of the latest set of monthly Torchwood releases; if you were shocked by the antics of Captain John Hart in this year's The Death of Captain Jack, then this will be no different. From the brothel disguised as the life art studio to the peep show with the alien lifeform, this is dark and twisted and the fact that the series' most innocent character Andy finds himself part of it, makes it all the more shocking.
There's a lot of fun to be had with the story too. The way Andy and Colgate zip from one location to another, pursuwed by Torchwood and the delightfully OTT Fat Kim (a terrifically vile performance from Lucy Sheen), leads to encounter with a whole range of colourful characters. Each situation is more ludicrous than the last and each setting more preposterous. The fact that these places were real (minus the aliens) shows just how colourful 50's Soho really was.
But James Boss's script doesn't just just rely on the theatrics of the time travel setting. There's an intriguing mystery in the key locked inside Andy's head after the encounter with the alien painting (did anyone else get a Virgo from Ghostbusters 2 vibe?). And the final reveal that a Martian killing machine from War of the Worlds is real (HG Wells apparently worked with Torchwood on the cover up) makes for a fun, action-packed climax.
But perhaps the biggest success of Goodbye Picadilly is the performances. Tom Price really gets to exude a more confident side to his character as he goes up against one ridiculous situation after the next. Samuel Barnett is clearly having a blast too, delivering smug charm, sleazy confidence and surprisingly a but of vulnerability to Colgate while still keeping plenty of mystery to his duplicitous agenda.
Goodbye Piccadilly is a high octane adventure that thrust Andy Davdison - and the listener - into the dark and disturbing world of 1950's Soho. With colourful characters, ludicrous situations, an intriguing mystery and a dash of HG Wells drama, this is one Big Finish release that is sure to stick in the listener's mind for some time.
A trailer for the next monthly Torchwood release from Big Finish, featuring Naomi Mori's Tosh in morally intriguing adventure Instant Karma.
The interviews with James Goss, Scott Handcock, Tom Price and Samuel Barnett are also a lot of fun too. They clearly have a lot of fun making these stories and Goss's insight into his research of 50's Soho makes for an interesting listen.