Big Finish Review: Torchwood - We Always Get Out Alive

Big Finish continues its latest Torchwood monthly range with another character-centric story, this time featuring Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper and Kai Owen as Rhys Williams.

We Always Get Out Alive has been written by Guy Adams and directed by Scott Handcock and is available on the Big Finish site here, before going on general release on the 31st July 2018.

Here's the synopsis...

Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams are on the run from a cataclysm. They're the only survivors, and they’re driving away from the disaster as fast as they can. They’ve got to get away, they’ve got to warn the authorities, and they just can’t be late for the babysitter again.

Dim problem. After all, they’re Torchwood and they always get out alive. But this time there's something in the car with them. Isn’t there?

Warning, this review does contain spoilers...

The Review...

These little monthly Torchwood releases from Big Finish are real treats. We've been getting some really wonderful two handers, first from John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness and James Masters return as Captain John Hart in the audacious The Death of Captain Jack in March and then the hilarious banter of Burn Gorman's Owen Harper and Gareth David-Lloyd's Ianto Jones in last month's The Last Beacon. We Always Get Out Alive is another delightful little tale, focusing this time on the interplay between husband and wife team Gwen and Rhys.

It's a simple but very effective tale that sees Gwen and Rhys travelling back home through dark Welsh roads in their car, having just destroyed an alien threat in an abandoned holiday camp. Guy Adam's script captures the married couple banter perfectly, while Eve Myles and Kai Owen bring that rich script to life under Scott Handcock's taught direction. It's a story where very little happens - it's as much about bickering over wrong directions and joking how lucky they are to have picked each other as it is about the discovery that they've brought something deadly back with them in the car.

This story is as funny as it is tense, Myles and Owen slipping back into these larger than life characters with ease. It's a testament to their performances that I could have listened to an hour or two of them chatting away on the long journey home. For every harsh word or offhand comment, there was a fond reminiscence or flirty banter that brings to life this delightful, long lasting Torchwood romance, while making it feel utterly real too.

But there is also something rather offbeat in the script and direction too; the tension sets in as Gwen and Owen continuously forget events as they seem to get further and further away from their Llanelli destination. You can imagine the harsh headlights in a dark road in the middle of nowhere, that atmosphere enriching the story so that by the time Gwen starts to become possessed or they hear strange voices and (most disturbingly) wailing babies on the 'radio from hell' it becomes an unsettling listening experience as much as it is an absorbing one.

The 'thing' hidden in the back seat of the car is a chilling idea, drawing on urban myths and horror stories and wisely We Always get Out Alive choses not to reveal much about its identity. Even when Gwen is able to kill it, you never know what it is or what it's ultimate mission was - except perhaps to fetch a ride to more populated areas.

We Always Get Out Alive is a superbly atmospheric tale, with rich script, taught direction and wonderful performances by Eve Myles and Kai Owen that makes excellent use of the simple setting. It's proof yet again that these Torchwood monthly releases are absolutely worth the investment, adding rich character moments to the continuing franchise.

The Extras...

A trailer for next month's Goodbye Picadilly, which sees Tom Price's Sergent Andy Davidson flung back in time to the 1950's to team up with Samuel Barnett's mysterious Norton Folgate.

Finally a couple of delightful interviews between director Scott Handcock and actors Eve Myles and Kai Owen, discussing the richness of Guy Adam's script and the challenges of revisiting these characters after a long period of time. The banter between the three is so much fun, you'll laugh just as hard listening to them as you will to the story itself!

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