Taking a much loved pop culture reference point is always a sure fire way to fill seats. It also carries with it the weight of expectation and so can easily be a sure fire way to disappoint.
Their references are very pleasing indeed, detailed and even witty at times. Unfortunately, what they delivered today was not at all gripping
While the audience waits outside, everyone is asked to contribute a suggestion for a new Doctor Who episode title. It was good fun. In fact, it was perhaps the most energetic the audience appeared for the whole evening.
Once in, we meet our eager, impossibly earnest cast of Whovian's as they bound across the room with immense energy. They all have the smiles and over enunciating tendencies of children's TVs presenters. The problem is that this wasn't described as a children's show; family friendly for sure, but although there were a fair number of young people in the room, by far the majority of the audience were the adults who have taken Doctor Who to cult levels of popularity. With this being the case, the show needed to deliver at a level to please all.
After calling for suggestions for a setting, they ignored the only pre-teen's suggestion (with I would personally have gone for, it was a good one and he seemed to lose interest after that) and set it all in present day Brighton. Not exactly an adventure in space and time. There is a reason that scripts are written and actors are directed. Improvisation can work brilliantly, but only with excellent acting and clever, quick thinking.
The cast are clearly fans. Their references are very pleasing indeed, detailed and even witty at times. Unfortunately, what they delivered today was not at all gripping. There were some ideas for characters and some enjoyably hammy running around with sonic screwdrivers. The best line of the show involves the unveiling of the villainous professor’s name as Michael Aster - as in, the Master. For large parts of the show though, there is interminable, unoriginal dialogue and next to no excitement. It reminded me a lot of overly rigid, make-believe games played during one’s childhood and abandoned when everyone got bored or ran out of things to say.
There is nothing at all wrong with the spirit of this show. The cast are keen and are gamely trying to share their enthusiasm. I just think they haven't quite managed to get us all in the Tardis with them, despite it being bigger on the inside.