Last year, Big Finish started producing original drama with their Big Finish Originals range, and the latest instalment in the line has just been released. With a fantastic cast and intriguing premise, “Transference” has been at the top of my most-anticipated list since its announcement in January. But is it a success? Read on to find out.
Following psychotherapist Sam Ross (Alex Kingston) as she investigates the mysterious Keith (Warren Brown), a fantasist who claims that he’s killed someone, Transference poses an important moral question: if a therapist, who cannot reveal the contents of their sessions to anyone, learns that their client might be a murderer, what should they do?
Eight hours in length, Transference is a rather hefty piece of audio drama, but due to the strength of its initial premise, it doesn’t drag for even a second. The hours fly by, and we are whisked along with Sam as she investigates, completely caught up and immersed in the story and its characters.
Dealing with subjects such as sexual assault, gun violence, gangs, murder and mental health, Transference is not always an easy listen, but it is certainly an enlightening one. All of these subjects are handled with care by the writers, and, as explained in the Behind the Scenes track, the four authors were given different parts of the story to work on depending on their strengths and experiences.
While the play is one overarching story, each writer brings their own something special to the parts they’ve written. With experience in psychotherapy, Jane Slavin writes two cerebral, psychological opening chapters, while ex-police officer Andrew Smith takes over for parts three and four, which are more focused on DC Aitken and his policing duties.
Roland Moore then gives us two pacy, action-packed hours to further the plot before handing over to John Dorney to resolve the story, which he does in two small-scale but equally as impressive chapters. All four writers really give it their all, coming together to create an engaging, exciting and often thought-provoking story.
Alex Kingston does a fantastic job as the lead character. Perhaps best known by most Big Finish listeners as River Song from their Doctor Who ranges, Kingston thrives in a more naturalistic world, imbuing her character with such a deep sense of realism that the events of the piece always seem immediate and full of tension.
Warren Brown plays potential murderer Keith, and gives the part remarkable nuance, constantly leaving the listener guessing as to whether he’s guilty or not. The main cast is completed by Robert Whitelock, who puts in a compelling and accessible performance as DC Paul Aitken, my favourite character of the piece.
The rest of the guest cast is absolutely brilliant too. From Wendy Craig‘s performance as Sam’s hateful mother Barbara and Ingrid Oliver‘s portrayal of the unfortunate Lucy, to Nimmy March‘s kindly therapist Sophie and Moray Treadwell‘s malevolent Hugh Lawrence, there’s not a weak link anywhere in the cast.
Particularly impressively, many cast members actually double up as two or more characters. In most cases, it was impossible to tell that this was the case; in fact, when I saw in the cast list that Tracy Wiles played both Marie, a police officer, and Roisin, one of Sam’s clients, I was gobsmacked such was the difference in both characters’ vocals.
Joe Kraemer‘s music and Steve Foxon‘s sound design are also praiseworthy. The theme for the series is unique and dynamic, while the sound effects help to create a real sense of naturalism surrounding the events of the story.
Full of mindblowing performances and with a gripping, tense and thrilling plot, Transference is definitely one of Big Finish’s best releases this year, perhaps of all time! John Dorney, Jane Slavin, Roland Moore and Andrew Smith, along with director Ken Bentley, have put together a fantastic piece of audio drama, the likes of which I hope we hear more of in the future of the Big Finish Originals range. Faultless.
Transference is available now as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
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