Monday, November 19, 2012

Review - "The Reification of Hans Gerber"

reify (v) - to convert into or regard as a concrete thing

Nicholas Briggs and Richard Earl have stepped back into the Victorian Era to take on the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson once again in the next Big Finish Audio Drama, "The Reification of Hans Gerber" an excellent pastiche by George Mann.

Sir Theobold Maugham is dead, having died of what appears to be natural causes after falling down his flight of stairs duirng the night. However, there are those among his family who are not so certain that Sir Theobold's death was not accidental - but murder. Luckily, Sherlock Holmes is brought into the case and with Dr. Watson at his side they begin to explore the Maugham family - as well as an estranged family member by the name of Hans Gerber. When Gerber returns to his claim his inheritance as Sir Theobold's eldest next-of-kin, there is another murder. Is Hans Gerber responsible for these two deaths? That is up to the world's greatest detective to decide.

Similarly to Big Finish's previous audio drama, "Holmes and the Ripper," "The Reification of Hans Gerber" is an original work this time by novelist George Mann. Overall Mann's story is excellent. It feels as though his pastiche could quite simply fit itself onto a shelf along with the Doyle originals. The style of writing and plot structure are quite similar.

Nicholas Briggs in a publicity shot as Sherlock Holmes
Once more Big Finish has crafted a piece of entertainment which is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Music and sound effects are wonderfully executed, and all of the acting is quite good. Nicholas Briggs is much less stilted this time around in the role of Holmes. He comes across as a much more accurate depiction of the detective than in his last venture, and I got the distinct impression that Briggs was enjoying himself playing Holmes. The same applies for Richard Earl, who is no longer the bumbling and comedic side-kick he was in "Holmes and the Ripper." Furthermore, this recording is the first to feature Watson's narrations throughout much of the story, a point which I liked. I really liked Richard Earl's performance as Watson, and his narration made the story feel more like a Doyle original.

"The Reification of Hans Gerber" was quite wonderful aside from two things - the first being the title. I had no prior knowledge of the word 'reification.' I had to use Dictionary.com to find out the meaning of word. It was only after that I looked up the word that I started doing my own deductions which lead me to solving the mystery before Sherlock Holmes (there's the ego-boost of the year!). I was slightly disappointed by the outcome of the mystery, but other than that, "The Reification of Hans Gerber" proved that Big Finish was on the road to success with the Sherlock Holmes recordings. A worthy 4 out of 5.

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