Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Christopher Benjamin, Trevor Baxter, Lisa Bowerman, Janet Henfrey, Lex Shrapnel, John Ainsworth.
The third instalment of Jago and Litefoot’s adventures in the dark world that shrouds the Victorian era takes a spiritual turn in the Jonathan Morris’ The Spirit Trap.
This penultimate story of Series One sees a slightly reduced cast from the previous two episodes tackle the Victorian world of spiritualism that has been captured in everything from romance, crime, even Victorian Lesbian drama and whilst not hitting the heights of the opening couple of tales in which Gordon Henry Jago and Professor George Litefoot have become institutions to the world of Doctor Who, is an interesting take on the field and one that is enjoyable and worth being involved in the initial series.
The problem that the listener may face as they listen to the excellent Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter as the erstwhile detectives is the thought of memory, a slight trickle that a similar story was used when the classic television series was bought back in 2005 with the ninth Doctor and Rose taking on the Gelf in the Unquiet Dead. The major difference is that whilst The Unquiet Dead stands out as one of the major highlights of Christopher Eccleston’s tenure as the brooding and supposed war battered Doctor, The Spirit Trap deals more with the application of trickery within the medium and owes more than a little to Sarah Walters look at spiritualism in her book Affinity.
The audio drama also benefits from the admirable Lisa Bowerman moving away from directing, in which she has been outstanding, for this particular story and immersing her talent fully into the role of Ellie Higson. This young woman’s sorry tale has been brewing in the background over the previous two episodes and to see Lisa Bowerman get more of a chance infront of the microphone is a thrill and one that was needed to keep the story from tipping slightly into male logic and Victorian female cliché hysteria.
With time running out before both Ellie Higson and impresario Gordon Henry Jago are seemingly lost forever, it is up to the Professor to save the day but it may be an investigation too far even for George Litefoot.
Spirit The Trap is an entertaining tale which captures the nature of the times in which certain women were conned in their grief and in which the rise of spiritualism became unprecedented.
The Spirit Trap is part of Jago & Litefoot series One which is available to buy from Worlds Apart on Lime Street, Liverpool.
Ian D. Hall