‘The Devil Cat’ (DS) (Audio)

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‘THE DEVIL CAT’ (DS)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Miss Emma Simon with Tony and Cassandra

For the lovely Sarah Sutton

Sarah Sutton joins ‘Dark Shadows’! And Sarah suggested that I review this ‘Dark Shadows’ audio. 🙂

When I heard the news that Sarah Sutton was to appear in a ‘Dark Shadows’ audio by Big Finish in 2014, I was pretty excited! Sarah is well-known as Nyssa of Traken in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m a huge fan of Sarah’s. 😀 To know that she would appear in a ‘Dark Shadows’ audio was terribly irresistible for me.

I immediately pre-ordered ‘The Devil Cat’ CD following the news. With the advent of the 2014 Fifth Doctor and Nyssa trilogy; ‘The Fifth Doctor Box Set’ and ‘The Devil Cat’ audio play from ‘Dark Shadows’, I just couldn’t wait. This is in spite of the fact that I knew nothing about ‘Dark Shadows’. 😀

I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The Devil Cat’ signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014. I’ve had some lovely chats with Sarah about this ‘Dark Shadows’ audio at conventions before and after its release, including at Cardiff; Weston-super-Mare and Sheffield. 🙂

Wendy Albiston as Lady Ruby Malkin, Sarah Sutton as Miss Emma Simon and William McGeough as Lord Trent Malkin in ‘The Devil Cat’.

As of 2021, I revisited ‘The Devil Cat’ in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ of ‘Dark Shadows’ audios, which I purchased as a download from Big Finish. It was great to listen to ‘The Death Mask’, ‘The Voodoo Amulet’, ‘The Last Stop’ and ‘The Phantom Bride’ before I could revisit ‘The Devil Cat’. 🙂

At the time of listening to ‘The Devil Cat’ in 2014, I didn’t know what had happened to Tony and Cassandra in the TV series and the previous audios they were in. I did my best to explain what happened in the story when I first reviewed it on Amazon.co.uk in 2014 and on my ‘BB’ blog in 2016.

‘The Devil Cat’ is the fifth audio story in the Tony and Cassandra story arc by Big Finish. It stars Jerry Lacy as Tony Peterson and Lara Parker as Cassandra Collins who appeared in the original ‘Dark Shadows’ TV series. At some point, I might check out their episodes on Amazon.com or something. 🙂

Mark Thomas Passmore writes again for Tony and Cassandra, having written for them previously in ‘The Death Mask’, ‘The Voodoo Amulet’ and ‘The Phantom Bride’. The third story of the Tony and Cassandra arc in ‘Dark Shadows’ by Big Finish called ‘The Last Stop’ was written by David Llewellyn. 🙂

James Lawrence as Bert Osgood in ‘The Devil Cat’.

However, that third story didn’t feature Tony and Cassandra much as their scenes together were at the beginning and at the end. Mind you, having listened to the first four stories in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’, I picked up certain significant elements that are resolved in ‘The Devil Cat’. 😀

‘The Devil Cat’ is longer than the first four stories of ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’. The story is about 1 hour and 17 minutes, taking place after ‘The Phantom Bride’. Not sure if ‘The Devil Cat’ is set directly after ‘The Phantom Bride’, as Tony and Cassandra were aboard an ocean liner to London. 😀

The story is directed by two directors – David Darlington and Darren Gross. I assume that Darren Gross directed Jerry Lacy and Lara Parker in the USA whilst David Darlington directed Sarah Sutton in the UK, especially since the two previously directed ‘The Phantom Bride’ in two different locations. 🙂

Joe Johnsey as PC Darren Westcott in ‘The Devil Cat’.

In ‘The Devil Cat’, Tony and Cassandra are on vacation in England. They go to the village of Little Bascombe to visit Tony’s cousin – Lord Trent Malkin and his wife Ruby. A murder mystery takes place in the village. It involves a cat cult, the disappearance of a maid and a collector’s item of Lord Trent’s.

Tony and Cassandra get caught up in the mystery whilst having to cope with hostile villagers, an unfriendly vicar and little Miss Emma Simon (played by Sarah Sutton). Will Tony and Cassandra solve the mystery of what’s going on? If they do so, their own personal relationship could be at risk too. 😐

In 2014, I knew about the ‘Dark Shadows’ audios by Big Finish; but hadn’t seen any of the TV episodes. I was aware that ‘Doctor Who’ actors like Colin Baker, Louise Jameson, Nicola Bryant and Matthew Waterhouse had appeared in the audios. It’s lucky Sarah Sutton has joined that league of actors. 🙂

Sarah Sutton as Miss Emma Simon in ‘The Devil Cat’.

Sarah Sutton plays Miss Emma Simon, a Miss Marple-like character in Little Bascombe. From my chats with Sarah at conventions, she told me she based her performance as Miss Simon from Geraldine McEwan’s performance as Miss Marple in the ITV series. That was pretty easy to visualise.

Sarah wasn’t sure how she would sound in the audio story, but I assured her I would like her very much as her Miss Marple-like character in the audio. Afterwards, she was pleased when I told her I enjoyed her as Miss Simon. There’s also an unexpected, shocking twist with her character at the end.

I think Big Finish should do their own ‘Miss Marple’ series featuring Sarah Sutton. I have emailed Big Finish about it, telling them how much I enjoyed Sarah’s performance as Miss Emma Simon in ‘The Devil Cat’. I did receive a really nice reply from Ian Atkins at Big Finish, who said that it was nice idea.

He said he would forward my suggestion to the Powers That Be, which was kind of him at the time. I should perhaps create my own original series on ‘Bradley’s Basement’ with Sarah Sutton playing one of the regulars. Whether it’d be sci-fi or drama-related, I’m not sure here. Hopefully, I’ll do it soon. 🙂

At conventions, I’ve told Sarah that I’ve been writing reviews about her ‘Doctor Who’ stories and she suggested that I’d write a review on ‘The Devil Cat’ after its release. I said I would and Sarah asked me to say nice things about her, which I always do. 🙂 I’m pleased to be writing this review for Sarah.

Talking about the story’s two leads, Jerry Lacy as Tony narrates most of the story in the first person, recounting his memory of the events of ‘The Devil Cat’, presumably in his office in Maine afterwards, according to ‘The Death Mask’. By this point in their story arc, Tony is clearly in love with Cassandra.

From this story, you can tell that Tony and Cassandra get on well with each other with their friendly jokes and banter. The humorous aspect of their friendship appealed to me, as Tony and Cassandra’s relationship gets explored. Tony expresses his dislike of cats and there are a lot of them in this story.

It was intriguing to hear the character development of Lara Parker as Cassandra Collins (formerly Angelique) in ‘The Devil Cat’, both before and after checking out ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ by Big Finish. It’s clear she and Tony have a close relationship, as they work together as detectives. 🙂

Cassandra isn’t so willing to sacrifice herself to be human and fall in love with Tony. She is compelled by her witch powers and serves her master called the Dark Lord. References are made to previous stories, both TV and audio, since Cassandra/Angelique has had a very long history in ‘Dark Shadows’.

Wendy Albiston as Lady Ruby Malkin and William McGeough as Lord Trent Malkin in ‘The Devil Cat’.

The story also features William McGeough as Lord Trent Malkin and Wendy Albiston as Lady Ruby Malkin. They’re the Lord and Lady of the Manor who welcome Tony and Cassandra to Little Bascombe. At first, Lord Trent and Lady Ruby seem to be good company and appear welcoming and friendly.

Tony and Lord Trent have a history, since they grew up together through childhood. Neither wants to talk about their childhood, and there is tension between the two men. By the story’s climax, there’s a shocking twist, as Lord Trent and Lady Ruby show their true colours to Tony and Cassandra.

Michael Shon as Reverend Joseph Tuttle in ‘The Devil Cat’.

The story’s cast also includes Michael Shon as Reverend Joseph Tuttle, Joe Johnsey as PC Darren Westcott, Dilek Latif as Dolly Elton, Greg Patmore as Clive Taylor, Barra Collins as Ralph Walters, James Lawrence as Bert Osgood and Ryan Wichert as Jack Thorpe. All these are minor characters. 😀

The story’s atmosphere is quite creepy and unnerving, and it’s a story not to be taken likely. Mark Thomas Passmore seems to know his ‘Dark Shadows’ and macabre-styled stories. There’s also an Agatha Christie atmosphere, despite it being gothic with the cat cult rituals and its creepy goings-on.

As indicated, the story has an unhappy ending for Cassandra Collins. It suits the dark atmosphere featured in this gothic ‘Dark Shadows’ audio. This was sad and depressing to listen to. I was getting into Tony and Cassandra’s characters. They seemed like heroes from ‘The Avengers’ 1960s TV series.

It was great to hear Sarah Sutton in a ‘Dark Shadows’ audio, and I’m grateful to producer Joseph Lidster and director David Darlington for casting Sarah in it. It was my first ‘Dark Shadows’ audio experience and ‘The Devil Cat’ is pretty standalone, although you will be shocked by its conclusion. 😐

I’m glad I’ve chatted to Sarah at conventions in Cardiff, Weston-super-Mare and Sheffield about her ‘Dark Shadows’ guest appearance. To have listened to Sarah in something else other than ‘Doctor Who’ was refreshing and enjoyable to listen to, and she’s done ‘Star Cops’ and ‘Timeslip’ since then.

I was disappointed there weren’t any CD interviews at the end of ‘The Devil Cat’, so no interview with Sarah Sutton sadly! 😦 The CD cover does contain biographies on Lara Parker, Jerry Lacy, writer Mark Thomas Passmore, and Wendy Albiston and William McGeough, but there’s no biography for Sarah Sutton, which is disappointing. She deserves a biography and is credited as the story’s main guest star on the CD cover.

As for ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ of ‘Dark Shadows’ audios by Big Finish, I’ve enjoyed them enough. I can’t say I’m an immediate ‘Dark Shadows’ fan, but should I be persuaded, I may check out other ‘Dark Shadows’ audios with ‘Doctor Who’ stars like Colin Baker and Matthew Waterhouse in them.

I’m glad I’ve been able to check out Sarah Sutton in ‘The Devil Cat’ both in its CD release and in ‘The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ as a download via the Big Finish app. Don’t worry if you’re not a ‘Dark Shadows’ fan. If you’re a Sarah Sutton fan, you’ll have no problem listening to ‘The Devil Cat’. 🙂

Be warned! These ‘Dark Shadows’ audios are full of gothic atmosphere! 😀

‘The Devil Cat’ (DS) rating – 8/10

‘Dark Shadows: The Tony and Cassandra Collection’ rating – 7/10


The previous story was

Return to The Works of Sarah Sutton
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