Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dark Shadows Audio Book 25 - The Eternal Actress

Some time ago, Big Finish Productions (who is well known for their Doctor Who audio dramas throughout the years) began producing Dark Shadows audio dramas, with brand new material based upon the original television series that ran from 1966 - 1971.  I fell in love with that show back in 1980, when my mother introduced me to the reruns.  Back then, I was so fascinated by the stories that I failed to notice the mishaps, goofs, and misread lines that I have now grown to appreciate as part of the show's charm.

In any event, when I found out about the audio dramas, I knew I had to have them.  Unfortunately, I was only able to get the first seven CDs here in America, which included the box set of "Kingdom of the Dead," which was a second full cast drama.  I didn't know if I would ever get any more, because ordering them from overseas would cost me a fortune in shipping.

Well, much to my delight, less than a year ago, Amazon suddenly started offering them here in America.  I went hog-wild, and started buying them up, listening to them every time I took a car trip to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Georgia, etc.  They not only helped pass the time of driving, but it was such a thrill to hear the voices of the original cast reprising roles that they created, or in some cases, creating new ones.  For those actors who have passed, or who were not willing to reprise their roles, new actors stepped in to fill the gap.

I have been thoroughly enjoying the series - while there have been three full cast audio dramas to date that picked up after the end of the series in 1971, the remaining CDs have told stories throughout the history of the series - some set in the distant past when the Collins first came to America, others set in various years since then, and some set more closely to the present.

This particular drama, "The Eternal Actress," is a story that focuses on Amanda Harris, who, in the show, was a portrait of a woman who was brought to life by the magical powers of Count Petofi back in the 1897 storyline.  The original actress, Donna McKechnie, reprises her role, and Andrew Collins (convenient last name, eh?  LOL) performs the role of Gideon Wilder, a new character on the scene.  It's an intriguing story about Gideon, who is a journalist for a gossip rag, who goes to the home of faced silent-film star, Helvetica Stanhope (what a name!) for an interview.  He finds Amanda Harris is Helvetica's full-time assistant - but instead of an interview, he becomes involved in the horrifying nightmare curse suffered by Helvetica - that whenever she dreams of someone coming to her window, they die in real life!  Everyone has a secret - and while Helvetica's secret was not so hard to figure out well before it was revealed, I was not expecting Gideon's secret at all.  So kudos to the writer for managing to keep that a surprise.  Written by Nev Fountain, the story easily falls into the Dark Shadows realm of tales, and as I listened to the actors, it was almost like I was listening to the TV from another room.

While there are no actual Collins' family members in this tale, it keeps its connection to the Dark Shadows' family through Amanda Harris' love and search for Quentin Collins (who is mentioned, but does not appear in the story).

Definitely recommended for any fan of Dark Shadows - in fact, of the 25 audio stories that I have heard so far, only one ("The House by the Sea") did I find to be uninteresting and unappealing.

RATING:  8 out of 10 curtain calls for spooky storytelling and nightmares to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment