Stones of Venice (#18)

Big Finish Main Range

Despite the uneven nature of this plot line, with the kooky things that happen, it’s okay. Charley feels she has to rescue the Doctor and the Doctor doesn’t tell the Duke about the lack of a body. They’re aliens or are they? What’s the point? And it sure takes forever for Venice to sink into the sea as they can chat awhile at the end. Except suddenly it’s all sinking quickly despite it sinking for many years.

The duchess has been hanging about for 100 years and just at “the end” she bothers to show up? Was she on a world tour for years? The duke’s just capricious and petty. The cult leader Vinchenzo is just an idiot. The people are characterizations and even the gondoliers don’t do so well. They think they should have someone impersonate the duchess to distract the duke and they also don’t think so. They attack the barges for no real reason at all, just to make people die faster and get out of the city. But they’ll be dead in a few hours anyway! It all makes for excitement and action but for no real point. Why do any of these things? Some reasons are revealed, some hidden, but all of them are just slightly silly.

Magrs co-wrote The Wormery with Stephen Cole and I remember that one as being rather uneven as well. Not terrible, just a bit uneven. I like Iris as a character but the story was just kinda blah. So it could be the writing but it could also be that things were cut out. Seems that audios that have the potential for more aren’t quite as good because they’ve had something cut out. Maybe this audio has something cut and maybe it doesn’t but it doesn’t ever, for a moment, make me feel like that Doctor or Charley are in real danger. We know the Doctor always survives but the companion’s life isn’t quite so guaranteed…

But I just felt that Charley gets taken in by these web-footed people, pushed into the forefront in an “admittedly fabulous frock” yet is just a pawn to be pushed around. And Pietro, what does he expect the Duke to do? If he just wants to distract him, an uprising by the gondoliers would do just as well. Weird way to distract the Duke—select someone they don’t know and can’t trust and throw that person in front of the Duke. Then suddenly realize he’s nuts? Um, okay. They couldn’t figure that out in the last hundred years? And Pietro says that they’ve been oppressed for hundreds of years in one breath then the next sentence along he says the last hundred years.

As much as there are these confusing bits and inconsistencies in what the characters say, I don’t mind that so much. Because it’s a fun adventure overall. Thus a 3 out of 5 jelloids.

Paul McGann and India Fisher

Writer: Paul Magrs

Director: G-Russell

Release: March 2001

Laura Vilensky 2019