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Reviews for Arrangements for War

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By:Phil Ince, Mexico City
Date:Tuesday 8 June 2004
Rating:   1

There's a Big Brother-ish fascination overwhelming me in relation to the contemporary Big Finish releases - month after month, banality is given its moment in the spotlight.

This one is a vomit-inducer for emotional retards who equate the snivelled splutterings of

Mixed Performance

By:Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
Date:Monday 23 October 2006
Rating:   6

In Arrangements for War, the Doctor and Evelyn go to the planet Világ to give Evelyn some time to slow down for a while and process her experiences with the Doctor, so she can decide if she wants to continue with him or not. They remain there for some time, and separately, they both get rather involved in the society's affairs.

The sound design in this production is rather exquisite. Everything is very finely done, from the ambient sound effects to the incidental music, and from the newscasts to the dramatic clipped tones and sibilance of Gabriel Woolf (voice of Sutekh in Pyramids of Mars) as Governor Rossiter. Listening to Gabriel Woolf really is kind of mesmerizing.

It's a good thing that Arrangements for War is technically superb, because the story falls flat. It really didn't even begin to feel important until the end, when the Doctor can't deal with the results of his actions, and it appears he's going to do something he's repeatedly said he could not or would not do. But instead of getting an interesting shocker of an ending, we get a cop out from the writer, and an ending that's probably the thing that sent the previous reviewer here on his tirade.

Still a nice production though.

Boring And Unconvincing

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 25 October 2006
Rating:   4

Arrangements For War is a very chatty production - lots and lots of talk. Unfortunately, it is just not interesting talk. Mostly it is people being foolishly emotional and acting quite stupidly in the process. The alien menace promised in episode 1 does not show up until the end of episode 3, and mostly it is just gunfire sound effects. The unconvincing part is that somehow in a matter of days and entirely indepently of each other, The Doctor and Evelyn manage to become important within the governments of a world not their own, and both do so entirely accidentally. Furthermore, we get a stock baddie at the beginning, but then there is a change of heart in the writer and the baddie's assistant becomes an even more cliched stock baddie in his place. I know actors love this sort of thing because they get to emote like mad, but as a listener I just got annoyed with everyone.

This is the best piece of drama....

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Thursday 20 March 2008
Rating:   10

There is the somewhat quite common blame the Doc for being an alien and not as emotional ring to the opening of this tale, but even this doesnt detract from this tale being my favourite big finish outing ever.

Maggie Stables and Gabriel Woolf just sound so great together. There is real believability in the scripting and the emotion that rings out from these two. The Doctor and Evelyn's wall is tall and choking too, with the Doctor's sadness really hitting home hard. Colin gives his finest performance, especially in the final episode after the death of Kristina and Marcus. This is such a moving scene, rare and yet not over the top emotion ringing out.

And the story as a whole has the feel of Romeo and Juliet but i dont care. This is such a decent and thoruoghly enjoyable play that doesnt stop for breath right from the word go. This is primetime drame that even the Mums will like. This story really is a powerful statement on all things war. Packed with the usual warmongers and princesses but without monotony.

It really is sad that this is only an audio play. Im just grateful theyve had the sense to do it on disc at any rate. This is the best Doctor Who story ive ever seen or heard. Only No Mans Land is joint with this for power and impact. Take your monster romps away, this is the kind of storytelling i want to hear and see more of...

A Masterpiece

By:PJ Johnson, Hoddesdon, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 19 May 2008
Rating:   10

OK, let's get the formalities out of the way - I am a huge fan of Colin Baker's portrayal of the sixth doctor, even on TV, and I love the relationship that has been forged in the Big Finish series between his doctor and the wonderful Evelyn Smythe (Maggie Stables). That this story acts as such a major turning point in said relationship just reinforces in my mind the superiority of this play over so many others in the Big Finish range.

This is not a story about aliens or universal conquest, or even - despite the title - about war. It is a story of the people behind the scenes, those who are responsible for delivering their people from the grim clutches of war, and the sacrifices they may have to make in the process.

The story has been described as 'Doctor Who meets Romeo and Juliet' - and that's exactly what it is, and Sutton has taken Shakespeare's iconic masterpiece and given it a great modern twist. The characters are believable and sympathetic, their relationships heartfelt, genuine and ultimately tragic.

The cast are on top form here, particularly (as always) Baker and Stables, and of course the hypnotic Gabriel Woolf as Rossiter, who simply steals every scene in which he appears. The chemistry between Woolf and Stables throughout the play is an absolute joy to behold.

The cherry on the icing on the cake, though, is the ending - described by some as a 'cop-out', I can think of no better way to bring to a close not only this wonderful story, but also the tension between the Doctor and Evelyn which has been quietly brewing since Doctor Who and the Pirates.

This is a fascinating, gripping and ultimately very moving tale of love, loss and political intrigue, and as such ranks among my all time favourite stories - as remarked by an earlier reviewer, what a shame this story could not have been made for TV - it would have been awesome!

This is a beautiful piece of work

By:Jared Star, Portsmouth, United States
Date:Wednesday 27 October 2021
Rating:   9

It's a Doctor Who episode that takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions in the 2 hours it presents you. It's a story that involves itself with the world it created instead of trying to blindly chase a plot. I always love stories that focus on characters and takes their time with them. Having the Doctor and friends live in an alien world instead of solving things in one visit.

The story doesn't try to pander to audiences with unnecessary action. It really wants you to care about what the characters are feeling. Evelyn especially, as she goes through the wringer with this one. It is an emotional experience worth purchasing. I found it surprisingly easy to re-listen as well. It's certainly one to save when you want to feel and not just be led down dingy corridors with a monster trailing the titular heroes.

If I had to make a criticism, the majority of the final act does play out exactly like a Shakespearean tragedy. If you are a fan of those then you will love this, if you aren't, you might find it a bit corny. However, it doesn't detract from the rest of the audio and the denouement is so poetic and subtle. It's a nice break from the intense action intense emotion episodes that try too hard to make you cry.

The revelations with Evelyn in this story are also extraordinary and unexpected (at least to me). I won't spoil it, but it is well delivered and well-acted. Which is exactly how I would sum up this gorgeous audio, well delivered and well-acted.

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