2010 Doctor Who Live Review

Many of you will be trawling the net for information on the new Doctor Who Live show touring the UK before you splash out on tickets. Well, you just found it.

We saw this today with out lad — A Dr. Who fanatic — at the M.E.N. arena in Manchester and I thought I might let others know what to expect. Firstly, as it is called “Dr. Who live”, you probably expect that you are going to see the Doctor, aka Matt Smith, um… LIVE, yes? Wrong. Not in the flesh at least. The Doctor and Amy Pond do not appear in person in Doctor Who Live! In fact, no original characters do! It is live in the respect that it is — partly at least — a live show.

The doctorwholive.com website in fact does not claim that is the case. Here is what they actually say:

Developed in association with Doctor Who’s Executive Producer and show runner, Steven Moffat, Doctor Who Live promises the same excitement, adventure and suspense that viewers have come to expect from the TV programme and will feature specially filmed new video scenes.

There is your hint. “Video scenes” do indeed feature a large part in the show.

What does it cost?

The tickets will rush you around £44 each. So one parent and one kid is almost £90. Add to that travel to and from the venue, parking charges if you go by car, and a programme at a staggering £10 each, and you are already in three figures. The ice creams and drinks are priced as one would expect, and merchandising is everywhere. Did I say everywhere? I meant absolutely everywhere! From the moment you walk in, to when you fight through the street vendors as you leave, you are engulfed in the opportunity of acquiring t-shirts, mugs, scarves, figures and the whole gamut of merchandise. Yup, you are lined up to have your pockets emptied by your wailing child screaming “I want one”.

So what’s the show like?

The scene is set around a character called Vorgenson.  He is not a Dr Who character; not yet at least. He is played by the actor Nigel Planer. He is an alien who creates a device called the minimiser. The minimiser captures aliens and monsters and keeps them for his entertainment behind small circular windows. The device exists only in the form of his glove. The rest is going on on the screen behind him. Various characters make a stage appearance: Cyber men, scarecrows, Silurians, vampire girls (a little heavier than the somewhat svelte on-screen originals it must be said), clockwork robots, Judoon and Smilers. Those on the floor of the auditorium get the characters moving amongst them — the kids all love that! Last of all, out come the Daleks. Near the end one of them is floating above the stage; that’s pretty cool.

The pyrotechnics in the show are good, as are the sound effects.

For me, Nigel Plainer’s Vorgenson character is unconvincing as a Dr Who character. But he is a good enough actor he makes it work, and makes the role his own anyway.

Matt Smith’s appearance was only on screen — not in person. They filmed some stuff where he seems to be interacting with Vorgenson and the audience. That kinda works. Those fathers who accompanied their offspring hoping for an eyeful of the delicious Karen Gillan and her exceptional legs will be disappointed. She also isn’t there in person, and her screen appearances are fleeting. One would imagine they would have featured her more.

A curious — although not totally unexpected — point, was when David Tennant briefly came on screen. The whole audience cheered!

It is a short show, only about two hours in total with a twenty minute interval.

Value for money?

Although the kids will love it, value for money it isn’t. If you have a spare £75 each to burn, then why not. If money is tight for you, buy the DVD’s instead and go Google the Dr Who folks in and around Ashton-Under-Lyne who visit the shopping centres with a Tardis, Daleks and a Davros, and take your kid to see the characters for free elsewhere.

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