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A Tempest

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 3 October 2023
Rating:   8

To my mind, this is the best of BBV's "The Time Travellers" audios. Tim Saward has written a science-fiction version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" that is in many ways much closer to the original than is "Forbidden Planet." The planet Millanno is a business primarily providing holidays so expensive that people will sell limbs and organs to pay for them. The government also runs a side hustle in hospitals and arms dealing. It has, though, an even darker past. The former Director, a man named Projoy (Prospero), is abandoned on Prosperity Island with his son, Milo (Miranda), who has extraordinary mental powers. For 16 years Projoy has been plotting his revenge against the current Director, his wife Antoinette (Antonio). Now, with the help of his android assistant Gabriel (Ariel), he strands his wife on Prosperity Island where he can confront her with her crimes. However, the plans go awry when The Professor and Ace have stowed away on the ship that Projoy crashes, and so end up on Prosperity Island as well. Saward has chosen not to copy the original plot in all particulars, but adds another layer regarding the history and politics of Millanno. This involves an experiment creating super-babies of extraordinary mental abilities, which went horribly wrong and involved an official cull of said babies, except for Milo, the only one left. Saward has also elected not to redeem Projoy as Shakespeare had redeemed Prospero, the apparent tyrant at the beginning who turns benevolent at the end. Projoy is a monster through and through, played extraordinarily well by Peter Miles. The whole is a thoughtful exploration of both family and national politics. There are some problems with the science behind much of what goes on, and the subplot involving Calida (Caliban) feels more distracting than integral. On the whole, the production is a worthwhile listen that fits the "Doctor Who" format quite well.

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