The Eternal Summer, by Jonathan Morris
Ah, Stockbridge! We’ve been here before, you know… no wait, I’ve said that already, haven’t I? We really have been here before…
It’s the perfect English summer’s day in Stockbridge – just as it has been every day for as long as anybody can remember. And Doctor Smith, who has been lodging in the pub for as long as anybody can remember, is very worried. As is Nyssa the postmistress, who has been dispensing stamps for as long as anybody can remember… but what year is it, really? 1948, 1966, 1977, or 2010? Or all of them at the same time?
Only one man can help: Maxwell Edison. Oh dear…
Though Edison is, by nature, a buffoon and an anorak, his presence is needed to sweeten the mixture in this play, and then even his resolution is bitter-sweet. There’s a lot of tragedy for the secondary characters to work through while the Doctor and Nyssa attempt to free themselves of this temporal paradox – all their yesterdays rolled into one, in a never-ending loop. “We take it in turns to die first,” one character explains. “That way we take care of each other till the end…”
Ouch. A good job the levity of Castle of Fear has been left behind. There’s still plenty for Sarah Sutton & Peter Davison to do however, not least take on much darker roles than usual. An interesting and quite compelling take on Stockbridge life.
Bonus review: Bernice Summerfield & the Green Eyed Monsters, by Dave Stone
As the cover might suggest, the green-eyed monsters aren’t just the aliens in this piece. Benny’s ex-husband Jason and ickle baby Peter’s father Adrian snarl and growl at each other all the way through, throwing Alpha male shapes at each other to assert their dominance in the pecking order. Quite rightly, the Prof ain’t having none of it. Unfortunately, before she can bash their heads together, she’s also got the small matter of a psychotic and scheming evil queen to deal with.
Doctor Who never had to cope with crying babies, although it might prove interesting if he did. For that reason Benny’s adventures are still good fun, refusing to take themselves too seriously yet at the same time remaining remarkably grounded. This one focuses on Adrian and Jason as much as it does on Benny, and although giving them more air-time squeezes the plot thinner, in this play that doesn’t matter too much. Especially as the evil scheming queen and her knuckle-dragging relations are paper-thin to begin with. Anything that gets me to work with a smile on my face can’t be a bad thing however.