Big Finish: Doctor Who REGENERATION IMPOSSIBLE Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Matthew Kresal takes a short trip with the Doctors...

The Short Trips range from Big Finish is an interesting one. Essentially short stories, they've also become a place where the company can produce tales that might not easily fit into a longer format or another range. Where else might you find a British Prime Minister running around with the Third Doctor, or learn the story behind the Ninth Doctor's Titanic connection? The latest entry in the range, May 2020's Regeneration Impossible, offers up a twist on the format with a full-cast audio drama...and a cast of one.

That sole performer is Jacob Dudman. As someone who first rose to prominence in the Who world for his uncanny impression of Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor on YouTube, he's gone on to be one of Big Finish's up and coming performers, especially where the Modern Who Doctors are concerned. Here, though, thanks to Alfie Shaw's script, he's given the task of performing against himself as two very different incarnations of the Doctor. Does Dudman rise to the challenge?

Of course he does! Dudman's Eleventh Doctor remains a delight to hear, with his take on Smith being performed so well that you might forget who you're listening to a double from time to time. The revelation, though, continues to be his Twelfth Doctor. While he doesn't capture Capaldi as well as he does Smith, in terms of matching his precise vocals, the way that Dudman captures this Scottish sounding incarnation firmly plants visions of Capaldi in the listener's brain, capturing the cadences and tones incredibly well. Indeed, if you didn't know it from the Big Finish site or the brief credits at the end, you might never know you were listening to the same actor in both roles. It isn't an easy trick to pull off, as this humorous video on Twitter from the recording with director Nicholas Briggs filling in for Capaldi will attest to, but the final product sounds superb. Indeed, it's a veritable showreel for Dudman's gifts as a voice artist.

That's not overlooking Alfie Shaw's script. Slotting his story into two relatively unexplored eras for these incarnations, Shaw creates a compelling and tightly woven narrative that's more than just an excuse to throw them together. What he does is create a story with very high stakes, an inverted locked room murder mystery, albeit one where the person getting killed is still very much alive. While it engages in some moments of fan service, it's all essential to the plot or for character development, adding to the banter between the two Doctors. Just as importantly, it's a story that doesn't outstay its welcome, playing to the half-hour(ish) format for complete advantage. Add on an effect soundscape via Adrian Townsend and a low key, but equally effective, score from Ioan Morris, and you've got a heck of a listen.

If you're a fan of Modern Who and have been wanting to delve into Big Finish but have been put off by the price of a box-set, give Regeneration Impossible a go. If you're a Big Finish fan skeptical of the Short Trips range, give Regeneration Impossible a listen. Heck, if you consider yourself a fan of either or both, give Regeneration Impossible a listen. It's a glorious thirty minutes of full-cast (of one, by virtue of young Dudman's talents) audio drama, evoking the best of 21st-century Doctor Who.

And at $2.99/£2,99, that's a bargain.

Matthew lives in North Alabama where he's a nerd, doesn't have a southern accent and isn't a Republican. He's a host of both the Big Finish centric Stories From The Vortex podcast and the 20mb Doctor Who Podcast. You can read more of his writing at his blog and at The Terrible Zodin fanzine, amongst other places. 

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