The latest in Torchwood’s monthly range adventure stars Naoko Mori as fan-favourite Toshiko Sato in her fifth audio outing with Big Finish.
‘Instant Karma’ opens with a rather thought-provoking sequence that sets up the plot while introducing the theme of power. We meet Simon, a character with a clearly sinister intent from the get-go. Toshiko is investigating a string of gruesome deaths, leading her into an anger management group with some rather bizarre powers and Simon at the head.
The writing trio of Jonathan Morris, James Goss and David Llewellyn unfold the character of Simon with precision over the first half. At first a seemingly friendly man with some issues dealing with life’s frustrations. The subtle escalation of this into full-fledged ruthlessness makes for a very compelling and sympathetic antagonist. With his uncomfortable sense of humour, Jonny Dixon does a wonderful job keeping the listener ill-at-ease around Simon. However, the script doesn’t give much for Dixon to play with in terms of contrasting with Naoko Mori as Toshiko. Their relationship becomes adversarial very quickly.
That said, Naoko Mori has a sizzling one-hander scene that could be her best performance yet as Toshiko. Set reasonably early in Torchwood’s TV life, there are hints that Toshiko’s interior life has been shaken by recent events. But, equally, her experiences have placed her in the perfect position to resist Simon and recognise the toxi relationships he’s cultivated. The story culminates in a surprising but entirely satisfying way, rounding off the story but leaving enough moral ambiguity to keep the listener thinking.
‘Instant Karma’ cements itself as one of the strongest stories in Big Finish’s Torchwood range, with Simon becoming a personal favourite Torchwood villain. To hear more Naoko Mori as Toshiko Sato is a pleasure as she always turns in a stunning, emotive performance. The sound design throughout is exquisite, with the most minute of details really adding to your enjoyment of the story.
This title was released in July 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until September 30th 2018, and on general sale after this date.
Imagine. All those people. The ones who make each day that little bit harder. That little bit more unbearable.
Imagine if you could silence them. Just by looking at them.
I mean, just imagine. If you could do that. To all the people who annoy you. Would you do it?
Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners
Written By: David Llewellyn, James Goss and Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Jonny Dixon (Simon), Sara McGaughey (Janet), Duncan Wisbey (Jolly Otter), Simon Ludders (Policeman), Ross Ford (Chav), Liz Sutherland-Lim (Daphne). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer James Goss
Script Editor David Llewellyn
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs