Big Finish Productions has had a huge success with its Dark Shadows audio dramas. Starting with only a few recordings in 2006, they now release six or more dramas a year. The big draw with the audio dramas is the use of original actors from the Dark Shadows serial.
The newest drama, released in May, The Devil Cat features Jerry Lacy as detective Tony Peterson and Lara Park as the witch Cassandra Collins. I really enjoy the dramas featuring Jerry and Lara, their voices have not changed in the 48 years since the original airing of Dark Shadows.
“Near the English coast, lawyer turned private detective Tony Peterson and his partner, the witch, known as Cassandra Collins, drive the lonely back roads…what began as an adversarial relationship has blossomed into a unique partnership, both professionally and personally.”
Tony and Cassandra are on vacation in England where they will be visiting Tony’s estranged cousin Lord Trent Malkin and his wife Ruby. As only can happen with Tony and Cassandra, in the first acts they are accosted by members of an ancient cat cult that appears to have free rein on the estate of Lord Malkin.
"Only we could get lost in the English countryside and find ourselves trapped in The Wicker Man!"
After a rescue by Trent, Tony and Cassandra arrive at the manor house where they learn about the disappearance of a house maid. Along with the maid, a valuable figurine is also discovered missing. The two couples go to the police department to report the disappearance. While at the police department, they meet an amateur sleuth, Miss Emma Simon, who has the strange habit of knitting while she is walking.
Together, the couples decide to team up to investigate the maid’s disappearance and a series of murders by an ancient cat cult. During their investigation, they must deal with hostile villagers, an unfriendly vicar and a horde of cats.
There are lots of humorous moments in this drama. One of my favorites is when Tony and Cassandra are about to enter a church, Tony says:
“You’re not going to burst into flames or anything, are you?”
This was another excellent audio drama and I have already listened to it several times. I can just picture the actions and the characters. To keep the minds of Dark Shadows fans turning, Trent is something of a "Collinsport collector", owing works by both Charles Delaware Tate and Bruno Hess. In a shared story, Tony also mentions childhood games they would play when they would sneak into the abandoned Seaview house on the Collinwood property.
I am not going to give any spoilers, but I must admit, the ending of this drama had me in tears. It has me anxiously awaiting the future of new Tony and Cassandra’s adventures.
This drama is based on Mark Thomas Passmore’s entertaining script and directed by David Darlington and Darren Gross. The other dramas featuring Lacy and Parker as Tony and Cassandra include: The Death Mask, The Voodoo Amulet, The Last Stop and **The Phantom Bride.
The cast of The Devil Cat:
Jerry Lacy (Tony Peterson), Lara Parker (Cassandra), Sarah Sutton (Miss Emma Simon), William McGeough (Lord Trent Malkin), Wendy Albiston (Lady Ruby Malkin), Joe Johnsey (PC Darren Westcott), Michael Shon (Reverend Joseph Tuttle),Greg Patmore (Clive Taylor), Barra Collins (Ralph Walters), James Lawrence (Bert Osgood), Ryan Wichert (Jack Thorpe), Dilek Latif (Dolly Elton)
**This story takes place after The Phantom Bride.