Synopsis: Dr Owen Harper’s called to the hospital. There’s a ward full of remarkable coma patients and more are coming in. Each patient came in with a dead relative as their imaginary friend.
Has Owen really discovered a bridge between the living and the dead?
Review: Torchwood: Iceberg written by Grace Knight is engaging, cerebral science fiction. It’s also a welcome character study of Owen Harper.
When the original Torchwood series debuted, I was put off by how unlikeable Captain Jack’s new team was. I didn’t feel like there was any intrinsic value to their characterizations and Russell T. Davies was just being provocative to differentiate the new show from Doctor Who.
It wasn’t until the transition to audio, beginning with the BBC radio plays, that I began to fully appreciate Davies’ initial creative choices. The Big Finish writers have continued the process of refining these characters into the most realized versions of themselves. As a result, Torchwood: Iceberg is the best Owen Harper story so far.
Listeners learn why Owen went down the path he did, as he gets reacquainted with a friend from medical school. Owen ghosted Amira, and Grace Knight crafts a kind of ghost story as Owen’s crucible.
She even gives listeners a proper setting for a haunting — a functionally abandoned hospital set to be closed down. The isolation Owen is confronted with is wonderfully conveyed, as he copes with a force that learns from and counters him along the way. The metaphor of an iceberg is perfect shorthand for both the subtle developments and the suddenly cruel impacts Owen registers throughout the story.
Burn Gorman and Maya Saroya are marvelous together. They cycle through numerous layers of what Owen and Amira’s relationship was and is. The story is largely a two-hander play with no filler, and the two of them own every second of their performances.
The story is largely a two-hander play, but there is a third actor. Lowri Walton plays Lucy, a patient at the hospital. Walton has a rather thankless job in that she’s playing a woman who is functionally a McGuffin. She gets on with it and delivers an affecting performance, as exposition and medical jargon swirl around her.
Thank you, again, Big Finish for helping the Torchwood team reach full potential. I’m looking forward to future adventures.
- You can purchase Torchwood: Iceberg here.
- Audio Production10