The Curse of the Daleks was an ambitious full-length adaptation of the first Doctor Who-related stage play, which ran at Wyndham’s Theatre, London, from 21 December 1965 to Saturday 15 January 1966. Our version was released in 2008, but subsequently withdrawn when Big Finish released their audio version. Please purchase the Big Finish version to experience the stage play.
Fifty years after the deactivation of the Daleks, a spaceship from Earth is forced to land on Skaro following an act of sabotage... but who aboard the ship would want to come to Skaro and for what terrible purpose?
Terry Cooper (Ladiver in the production) writes:
I got my eagerly-awaited copy of Curse Of The Daleks in the post today (Cheers Stuart!) and cancelled all further appointments for the day, drooling like the mad fanboy that I am...
Lovely DVD style cover utilising the Wyndham theatre poster, with its' Egyptian style stencilled graphics. A cryptic "The Theatre productions Volume One" on the bottom line...makes me wonder what's next!!!
I’ve watched about six of Altered Vistas' Dalek Chronicles so far, and this one definitely stands apart. The opening sequence with the theatre makes one feel as if you're about to take your seats in the dark. Great stuff. Then the opening credits and spooky music kick in and I was reminded of the Peter Cushing movies - appropriate for a 60's production.
The show is really well put together - at times the camera angles are very cinematic and other times the feel of a stage play comes across really well.
There's so much to comment on in this production, so I'll try to get through it all without too much waffle! The casting is great. An ensemble that works really well. Hearing my own voice as Ladiver embedded into the rest of the voices made me feel like Tom Hanks in a Pixar movie - finally you get to hear how it all plays out, and you can hardly tell that the parts were recorded separately. Great job. The incidental music and background sound effects are just right too - the test is that you don't really notice when the music comes in and out. It's very natural, and all adds to the emotional impact of the scenes. Act one ends with a good cliffhanger at a natural point in the story.
The cast are all very good and deliver their lines confidently. Notably, Rocket Smith is excellent - I kept hearing shades of David Tennant there... Stuart take note! He was very natural sounding and easy to listen to. Captain Redway was also impressive - his cynicism and temper were pitch perfect. I played Ladiver as requested - in a laconic, sarcastic drawl, and I'm very happy with my input, but looking at it now, I kind of think a cheekier delivery like Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow (which is one of my many impressions) might've worked well there too!
Nothing is 100% perfect in any production, and only two tiny things slightly detracted from the polished finish. Professor Vandelyn was performed well, but there was an audio quality problem, which made his voice a little radio-like. And a couple of Marion Clements' lines sometimes sounded a little bit forced, like a Star Trek computer voice. The Daleks themselves were also reminiscent of the '60's movie voices, and although they're fine for this play, I would've loved to hear a different take on them, such as Roy Skelton's or Nick Briggs delivery, with an altered modulation. But these things are very minor and don't really stand out too much. I'm just trying to be fair. Even my Ladiver could've benefited from a bit more emotion at times. Harry Sline was great though. A real 'Nick Frost' kind of character, whose look fit the voice perfectly.
To sum it up, it's a mammoth job and it beggars belief to think this entire production is the sterling work of one man, working all the hours available for little or no return. Hats off to Stuart/Empire 639 for a huge leap forward in the quality and ambition of these amazing shows. It's completely absorbing and fascinating to watch a play that was on the theatre stage FOUR YEARS before I was even born, and a privilege and an honour to appear in it alongside such a brilliant cast. Kudos!!!!!!
Lindsay Blackwood writes:
Just watched Curse of the Daleks and enjoyed it thoroughly. I did not know that much about the plot etc, but was rivetted all the way through.
I loved the start of each act with the curtains closed and the sound of the orchestra tuning up. A very nice touch.
Roger Smith (AKA Black Dalek) writes:
Well what can you say - after a 43 year wait and countless readings of the script I finally get to see it in all its glory.
It is well worth the wait and I am so glad I let Stuart have a copy. Stuart and the whole cast have done a FANTASTIC job.
Starting with the opening, I love the nod at the Peter Cushing films - all that colour and sound is brilliant.
Act One is a little slow but there are reasons - lots of introductions, expositions. The atmosphere is perfect, so desolate, but it does not take long to warm to the characters. Sorry, Trevor, but you are quite right, Rocket Smith does steal the show with a little help from Stuart’s camera work, angles you would not have see in the theatre (nice ass, Marion).
Act Two and it all comes together very well indeed, few red herrings and a great twist. So it is more of a whodunnit than a sci-fi story - most enjoyable.
Now my question is does Skaro do internet Thal brides as they are ‘very fit’ (I believe is the current expression).
As for the extras:
Disc One, Curse Cubed: lovely images from Iain McClumpha and voice by Stuart from the original text from the theatre programme. Wonderful stuff.
Desert Island Discs: What can I say? It had me believing right to the end credits. Fantastic job by Jonathan Redwood. You must bring out a Hartnell comic strip.
Disc Two, Original Curse: very good potted history of the play. Where on earth do you get all the information?
Over all what can you say, the whole package is ASTOUNDING. Great addition to a growing and most welcome collection.
So once again many many thanks to all involved.
John C writes:
I’ve only just found out about these productions. A post on “Howe’s Transcendental Toybox” lead me to the web site and I thought I’d give Curse of the Daleks a try. I’m glad I did…
I was very impressed with the whole production. It flowed well and genuinely drew you in to the story. It’s amazing that all the parts were recorded separately because it all hangs together beautifully. Admittedly, there was some differences in the acoustics of a couple of the voices but this did not distract from the story at all. Good performances all round. The Dalek voices were excellent.
Visually it maintained the feel of a play with everything revolving around a small number of sets. The characters are depicted convincingly and the lip sync, while not perfect, adds to the whole effect.
I must also comment on one the extras. The Desert Island Discs with Jonathan Redwood was a definite highlight – I enjoyed it a great deal.
Thanks to all involved for the time and effort involved in bringing this play to the small screen. Well done, Stuart, for pulling all of it together. I’m certainly looking forward to the next AV whatever it may be.
Now I’m off to order the ones I’ve missed from the past…
Trevor Sproston writes:
I’ve just watched Curse if the Daleks, and I’d like to pass on my heartiest congratulations. This is obviously an ambitious project, and the amount of time and work spent upon it are evident in the production. The modelling of the characters has improved significantly, as has the animation. The faces in particular are an order of magnitude better than in, say, Abslom Daak, and they now walk more convincingly, with definite “weight” to them.
To my ears, the “Clements” character unfortunately sounds rather monotonous, compared to the others – she seems to be angry most of the time, and “would make a good Dalek”. Perhaps Whitaker found it difficult to create a believable female character.
Regarding the play itself: it’s very much of its time, and it’s meant as an adventure for kids. It’s not great theatre, but nonetheless an essential artefact for all Dalekophiles, which we can only appreciate thanks to Altered Vistas, and I’m very grateful to you all for the time and effort you’ve all put in to recreate it. As a kid, I would never have had the chance to go and see it.
One minor continuity quibble: in the second act, there are two occasions when the Black Dalek is at the console, and you can see that his image has been reversed - his gun is on the wrong side – but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.
The extras are well thought out. The programme notes are a neat inclusion, and Iain McClumpha’s graphics are first class – really atmospheric and nostalgic. As regards Jonathan Redwood’s William Hartnell – well I was totally fooled. A brilliant impersonation. The Real Curse is once again, an informative article.
Adam Bullock writes:
I've just (this minute!) finished watching Curse of the Daleks and had to say a big thankyou - this is an epic effort (possibly the best fan production I've ever seen). I'm beginning to think you have an army of clones locked in a basement somewhere to keyframe all that animation. I’ve dabbled with animation myself and it's mind-boggling to think how much work has gone into this.
The direction is top quality, really bringing out a lot of drama and tension, the lighting is superb - both the moody interior stuff and the subtle daylight. The scene where it begins to get dark really conveyed the atmosphere of nightfall on Skaro well.
The human characters are very convincingly animated, the movement nice and fluid. The lipsyncing works well - I presume that a lot of this was done with the program called CrazyTalk. Does this make it much easier? Admittedly, the mouths don't always completely close as characters talk, but this is so minor I really stopped noticing after a couple of minutes.
Well done to all the cast, too. Although not all professional actors, the performances were consistently good throughout, giving the source material a very convincing delivery.
On top of this feature-film effort, there's also the extras. The Desert Island Discs re-creation is uncanny - Jonathan Redwood is almost spot-on, not only sounding like Hartnell but getting a lot of his speech mannerisms too. On the basis of this I can't wait to watch The Invasion from Space later (let's hope we'l be hearing more from the First Doctor in the future). It really felt like I was hearing Hartnell talk, and conveyed a lot of insight into the man. Curse cubed was fun, and the renders of the cube were beautiful - some very '60s settings.
Finally, the easter-egg (I assume it was intended as such, since it's not listed on the CD sleeve) - what can I say? I had to have a break half way through in order to collect my jaw from the floor where it had fallen! An amazingly well-executed animation.
Also, may I add a lot of thanks for all the previous productions - although I was aware of the '60s comics, I wasn't familiar with them, and so approached the animations as a fresh drama series. Your meticulous work on each has really brought this alternative Dalek history to life.
Andrew Scott writes:
Everything stopped this afternoon just after a parcel was pushed through the letter box.
I tore open the package and was greeted by the latest Altered Vistas releases.
I thought I would have a quick look at the first part of The Curse of the Daleks.
I was hooked from the beginning and carried on watching till the cliff-hanger to Part One. Once again these guys have produced another lovingly crafted work and I just want to take the time to say A BIG THANK YOU for all your time and effort.
It wasn't just that I was enthralled by the play, but then I went on to the extras. The Dalek cube section was really enjoyable but the best ever must be the Desert Island Discs with William Hartnell
A shiver went down my spine while listening and I was amazed at the end to discover it wasn't actually Hartnell's voice. I did a bit of a double take as it sounded exactly like him.
Anyway can't wait to find out what happens in the next part of The Curse of the Daleks.
And of course then there is the reading of the Invasion from Space annual complete with CGI bits to bring it to life.
Was there ever a better time to be a Doctor Who fan?
I really don't think so.
Tom Tyrrell writes:
The Curse of the Daleks is a really enjoyable play, very well served by this adaptation. Forty years too young to see it first time around, I was looking forward to the chance to experience another obscure yet fascinating corner of Doctor Who lore.
The story itself is a tightly plotted base-under-siege story reminiscent of some of Patrick Troughton’s best, though it doesn't drag quite as much as one of those lengthy six-parters. It reminded me particularly of one of my favourite films, John Carpenter's Assualt on Precinct 13, as much for its tense and spartan structure as for the inclusion of the mysterious and charismatic convict who steals every scene he's in - Ladiver is a dead ringer for Napoleon Wilson! I didn't guess the identity of the traitor, but I think that was mostly because David Whitaker cheated a bit with the plot twist. The female characters are variously a frosty spinster stereotype and a faithful wife stereotype, but it's a play of its time. The plot spins out at a slow, tense and very involving pace, with the Daleks kept mostly in the background. It's a very eerie moment when they first start to move
The animation was excellent as usual, though I did find it a little distracting the way everyone's teeth moved with their mouth (sounds odd, looks odder).
Of the extras; an absolutely seamless recreation of William Hartnell's Desert Island Discs - I didn't even know it was Jonathan Redwood until they told me so at the end - an entertainingly demented story of Dalek history concealed in glass cubes, accompanied by some amusing illustrations; and an informative mini documentary on the history of the stage play. Another excellent package.
Kevin Turner writes:
It’s taken a while to find time to sit down and finally watch The Curse of the Daleks, and it was well worth the wait!
From the sixties-style opening to the final twist of the whodunnit at the end, the quality of this video is excellent. The lip syncing and the actors were first class, please pass on my congratulations to them all.
This story shows the Daleks for what they were, total dominators. Unfortunately we have not seen them like this in the new Doctor Who series, but we live in hope. Anyway back to Curse... this was one of those productions that once you start watching, you have to see it all. I must say I enjoyed it very much and I look forward to more of the same, which I know will happen. Again congrats to you and your team for keeping the true Daleks alive.
Alan Mckenzie writes:
I have just finished watching copies of Curse of the Daleks and Invasion from Space, kindly copied for me by Steve Norris. Very different in style, both from The Dalek Chronicles and from each other, I enjoyed both immensely on their own merits.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to see "Curse" as a stage play - can't think why; at that time, at the age of 9, anything concerning the Daleks was a "must" for me! There must have been a very good reason why my mother was unable to take me up to Wyndhams to see it.
However, that omission has now been righted, albeit over forty years later. Another excellent production technically, the new-style facial and mouth movement with speech was quite effective and the sound quality very good indeed. The only problem I have found with some of the other AV productions is that occasionally, it has been rather difficult to make out what the characters, particularly the Daleks, are saying. This time however, there were no such problems.
Never having seen the play, I found the plot-lines and expressions fascinating. They are a wonderful time-capsule of the 1960s, reminding me of many things I'd forgotten about. They also illustrate graphically, a very common and actually rather endearing trait which runs through a great deal of 1950s & 1960s sci-fi; i.e. the apparent inability of the writers to imagine any technology much beyond that which existed at the time of writing, even though the stories were set perhaps a hundred or more years into the future.
Thus we still have transistors in common usage, while the Thals go one better and, apparently, still use thermionic valves from which, bizarrely, the filaments are removable! You might have thought that during the Daleks' long "sleep" the Thals might have had a look round the Dalek city and investigated or reverse-engineered some of the Dalek kit. Or maybe, the Daleks were still at the crystal and cat's-whisker stage!!!
In that sense, Curse is very similar to Thunderbirds where, although supposedly set in 2067, we still have reel-to-reel tape recorders, analogue meters and massive, 1940s-style indicator lamps!
I also loved the reference to a "50/- watch"! Oh for the old pre-decimal money and the prices and value that went with it - gone forever, I'm afraid.
I think had I seen Curse on stage, I would have been fidgeting with frustration throughout the first half, due to lack of Daleks. After all, you don't go to see a play about the Daleks to spend the first half sitting listening to a bunch of humans spouting endless 1960s technobabble, do you! I guess however, that the moment when the inert Dalek in the courtyard came to life and "snuck off" without anybody noticing would have been good in the theatre. You can just imagine all the children (and probably some of the adults too) yelling "It's behind you!" as he glided silently away.
Yes, all in all, another triumph for Altered Vistas, I would say.
Thank again to AV for two very enjoyable new productions.
(ALAN’S INVASION FROM SPACE REVIEW CAN BE READ ON THE REVIEW PAGE FOR THAT PRODUCTION)
Bryan Simcott writes:
I watched this all in one go, and then later in two parts on separate days. I do wonder how you work you magic with these things, as I assume, bar the odd close up and a few angles here and there, that most of the production was done to give an overall stage feel, with lots of wide shots. Was there any time when you thought to edit the whole thing down? As it says in the documentary, the whole production is very flat, until the Daleks arrive and, even then, it’s a bit long.
The actual production is brilliant, and gives a real feel of what the story would have been like to see. It’s one of those mythical Doctor Who beasts. and at last I’ve been able to see it. I loved some of the ‘camera’ angles on the Daleks inside the city. It’s a pity that with all your wonderful technical skills, the actual plot and script were not a bit more up beat.
Do you ever decide to make a production, then like this one, realise halfway through how long it is and wonder if you should do it, or do you even like it as a story/production? Would you still work on something if it wasn’t really firing you up? There’s nothing like a plodding script to still a beating heart, each morning when you wake, realising you have to just keep going with it. It’s testament to your commitment that you did finish this and made it such a wonderful release. I’m not sure I would have had your dedication, with some of the very long-winded passages, lip syncing, and general ponderousness of the whole thing. I’m sure this version, in colour and with MORE Daleks that I imagine the stage version would have had, is the very best way to encapsulate the production and bring it alive to a new (and in some cases) older audience.
Thanks for continuing to surprise with each release
Tony Kennedy writes:
this is the first review I’ve given for a while. It was, as usual, brilliant. I’d had no idea what to expect from this as I had no previous knowledge of the storyline before.
l loved the sets, the cast where very clear in their dialogue, and the animation was beautiful.
One disappointment though, this one didn’t go down too well with the kids (think they’ve now been spoiled by the TV show.)
Can’t beat them all, looking forward the next production.
David Checkley writes:
I just want to say thank you so much for my first AV Order which arrived on Friday morning, - really fast. For the past two nights I've been enthralled and totally riveted, (whilst transported back into my earlier years and the 60s world of Doctor Who).
The selection of my order runs throughout the Altered Vistas range from the beginning to the most recent issued productions, and I must say I've absolutely loved them all. I was immediately thrilled with the fantastically high quality of these shows and especially the sheer watchability. Last night, (after the vewing of the current TV series' finale episode), we had the entire Curse of the Daleks, and extras, - into the small hours. What a sumptuous and superb adaptation of the play it is, and an absolute delight to experience...
I've already started to plan for what I'd like to see next, but for now - Many thanks again.
(Disc1) 'Curse Cubed' 4:18 & 'Desert Island Discs' 13:22 / (Disc2) 'The Original Curse' 7:47
(Disc-1/Prog.4) CURSE CUBED – David Whitaker's Programme Text
A marvellous item, fully a fictional entertainment short in its own right, complimented by Stuart's lovely, drawling 'authorly' anecdotal delivery over Iain McClumpha's gorgeous (and oftimes funny) CG-pix of scenes of all sorts of Daleks/media with Terry Nation's "magic"cube posed within them. Plus a particularly good EMPIRE 639 backing.
(Disc-1/Prog.5) DESERT ISLAND DISCS – with William Hartnell
Deliciously 'historical' and a sweet insight into William Hartnell as a person. Jonathan Redwood puts on a super vocal act in spectacularly convincing W.H.-style that remains consistent throughout and manages to portray the character of Bill Hartnell with superb conviction. A most accomplished performance.
Equally, Stuart Palmer's production-skills provide us with yet another well-researched mini-doc full of pertinent & poignant images of both Hartnell and his subjects. Educational even!
(Disc-2/Prog.5) THE ORIGINAL CURSE – A Documentary On the Original Stage Show
This is a beautifully-produced short – another comprehensive mini-doc – with lovely attention-to-detail that serves the Major Production well and matches its authenticity. Features a nice little David Whitaker CV nested therein and shows the first(&only?) appearance of White Daleks!
'CURSE OF THE DALEKS'
This is Altered Vistas' longest and most ambitious work yet. If this wonderous production does not garner a slew of awards or fails to become 'famous' in Whodom i'll eat 4Doc's Scarf (one of those little replica ones!). After all, the Hyde Fundraisers are now feted for restoring lost Dalek stories as stageplays, but no-one has (until now) 'restored' any of the original Dalek-Plays. Stuart Palmer has committed a significant service to Fandom (and "no good deed goes unpunished" – so here's my Review!)
(Scene One 9:32)
Regardless of the criticisms made by at least one tabloid reviewer at the time, the opening sequence sets the scene and characterizations of the primary characters (prisoners & crew) very well and, despite being text-heavy and essentially actionless, in Stuart Palmer's increasingly capable digits is interesting and even entertaining drama and fine visual work.
The vocal performances of both Ladiver (Terry Cooper) & Sline (Terry Budin-Jones) are very good and bode well for the 'listenability' of the rest of this full-length Two-Act Play.
It is interesting to observe the sudden increase in production-mistakes introduced by such a prodigious project impacting with Stuart's production-style. There are several obvious misteps throughout (and i shall inevitably mention every one of them in cruel & obsessive detail during this review. Or not.) The example in this case is the failure to interpret the action indicated by the dialogue – if not the script-directions – when Sline is showing Ladiver the "file" he nicked and talking of how their "cuffs" are resistant to its harms due to being made of a "smooth as silk" kind of metal. We are not shown any attempt to use the file during this and the object is merely waved about confusing the meaning of the dialogue. [2:00-2:25]
As for the play, its ""Technobabble"Standard is of a higher quality than the current Series! (Although a concept like water not boiling at the Speed-of-Light is odd, but interesting).
(Scene Two 21:40)
Another top vocal performance, this time by Capt.Redway (John Crowley). Professor Vanderlyn's voice is poorly-served by the recording-source, with Marion Clements' vox similarly (but less) 'hollowly'resonant – whilst Redway & Ladiver's are nicely mellow-toned. A consequence of variant production-sources, i know, but perhaps some use of unifying EQ & reverb would bring them into the same 'AcousticSpace' a bit more/better.
There is the occasional moment of inadvertent humour, such as the shot of Slater & Redway looking towards the frozen Dalek and Ladiver & Sline whilst commenting on not having to look far to find "the Culprits" – along with the sinister atmosphere of long Dalek inaction being superbly menacing in itself. [7:20]
An accolade to Stuart's character-art design by way of complimenting the 'design' of the 'sternly beautiful, buxom and well-spoken* Marion Clements!
[* thankyou, Jenny Shepherd ]
One more "missed-cue" worthy of note is the failure of the background-sound/music to 'react' when the Dalek moves for the very first time. [20:45]
(Scene Three 23:46)
Fascinating inversion of the new 'anti-sexism' of the time being highlighted in the play by the fictional depiction of a 'Return of Sexism'* [9:40-10:00] – plus a wonderful evocation of the 'New Sexism' prevalent on Earth in a speech by Rocket Smith a while later. [14:30-15:30]
[* one of those useful insights that give the lie to the deluded notion that civilisation is on some sort of constant progression away from such 'backward' conditions when such things are more often a matter of the cycling of socio-political 'fashions' through the generations ]
Note the cute "anaesthetic-bullet" SFX hitting Sline (after a lousy dodging act!*) [17:50]
[* which gets him deaded when he pulls the same stunt with a Dalek later on! ]
And a great scene-ending: "We're up against the whole Race of them now!"
(Scene Four 4:59)
(Bloody-good that Opening Theme, especially the "Hammond-Fuzzbox"style opening background syncopation sound.)
Another mistimed moment occurs when the DalekScanner starts up before the Order to do so is uttered. [2:50]
After complaining bitterly about the Prejudice she's faced all her life Marion proceeds to (frequently) demonstrate her own blinkeredness towards Ladiver, despite being as intelligent as the Professor as well as having his more open-minded lead to go with, nonetheless she becomes as relentlessly deluded in her outlook as is Redway's fixation about him. Which is an example of the (however few) moments of depth & subtlety in the writing.
The lip-synch technique that Stuart uses is not as accurate as most animation methods use these days, but, despite the occasional badly-missed or 'dubbing-like' complete non-match, the effort pays off really well throughout.
Oh I do so love a good anachronism in old sci-fi – viz: "a minute tape-recorder!" (but who says that tape – perhaps holographic? – won't make a comeback in the bright new 'genderist' future ahead of us?!) – or "Petrol" (for making bombs – and quite a bit harder to rationalize!).
The most serious miscuing of action of all is the moment where Ijayna has to run to close the portal behind Marion* but is still moving towards the door even after it has closed(itself?) along with the others sync'd in that scene, making her action pointless and confusing.
[* and why was Marion strangely too dumb to follow instruction and close it herself?! ]
A great vocal-performance by the Thal Führer, Dexion (Steve Purbrick) whose 'stilted' reading suits the 'Translated' alieness of the Thal very well. And there is a terrific speech by Ladiver. [9:55-11:30]
A highlight of the text for me was the 'Description Of The Daleks' given by Prof.Vanderlyn in another sterling vox-perf. by Darren Southworth. [20:55-21:15]
(Scene Six 3:53)
Significant for a most arousing & amuzing Dalek'erection' during the >>THE.TWO.FEMALES...<< Dalek-speech. [2:30]
(Scene Seven 16:57)
I love the way that Daleks zip about the place in this production – a pleasing contrast to their usual sedate glidings in most other portrayals.
I had to back up and check that i hadn't missed it, but sure enough there's absolutely no reaction from the girls when Ladiver suddenly reveals himself by speaking to them from behind their 'slabs'. [9:10]
A great Dalek Moment: >>NO.MAN.IS.OUR..MASTER!<< [12:30]
Another top performance by Bob Slater (Richard Dadd) is ruined at its peak moment by a totally crap 'scream' that is supposed to accompany the Dalek-demise of the main villain! Surely any good scream(er) from amongst whomever of Stuart's growing collection of vocalists would be sufficiently indistinguishable from the original actor's voice and could have been edited in there instead?! (In fact i strongly recommend that this untimely flaw be fixed post-haste!!)
Lastly (and in complete contrast to the previous comment) a big commendation for Stuart Palmer's excellent voice-work for the Daleks in this one. Stuart's Dalek-vox have always been one of the best parts of The Dalek Chronicles productions and it's easy to overlook the body of work (right up there with Nicholas Briggs in my view) that he has created in that form. In 'Curse Of The Daleks' he rises to the significance of the occasion* and never better than for the closing(final-end)speech of the Black Dalek. [13:25-14:05]
[* it's a Play, not a Comic! ]
It is interesting to note the increased effect of the visuals acting as a sort-of 'sketch' backing up the speech due to the comparative density of the text this time – its being a 'proper' spoken-word piece rather than a shortstory or comix-text. Nonetheless, we get more than full visual-value from an extensive effort on Stuart's part to provide the fullest-feasible stage & performance action for this huge production.
This production actually needs a little bit of Tweaking to iron out the kinks, not because it is any less well produced than other Altered Vistas works, but because it is now the 'Flag' Item on the A.V.-Masthead and deserves to be perfected for the sake of the notoriety i sincerely believe it is going to attract.
Julian Turner Bell writes:
Just enjoyed the discs you sent recently. Will be sending for newest release this week. Must say that the script seemed pretty heavy going and complex as the review in THE TIMES stated. Phew! As an eight year old at the time I would have struggled with all this extra stuff and just want my Daleks to do what they did best... be scary and threatening, then of course be defeated with a view to them returning. Too much lovey-dovey and complicated interpersonal stuff... Still Altered Vistas have done a bang up job bringing it to life. Praise be!!!!
Craig Prescott writes:
I’ve just watched The Curse of the Daleks and I’m very impressed: great story, great acting. The productions get better and better. Also, the animation was excellent. I can’t wait to see another. I’m glad I got to see it before Big Finish released theirs, which won’t be better than yours. Also the Invasion from Space disc was some great story telling.
Matthew Kresal writes:
There's a saying that it is better to be late then never. In the case of my review of The Curse Of The Daleks I hope it's true. While the production may no longer be available, as one of the lucky few to have gotten it I feel it's an impressive piece of work.
The performances are as good as always. Terry Cooper is impressive as Ladiver and he proves to be the real star of the production. The crew of the ship is well played by Jon Crowley, Lee Moone and Richard Dadd, who all well suited their respective roles. Of course there is also the performances of Darren Southworth, Jenny Shepherd, Terry Budin-Jones, Steve Purbrick and Rebecca McCarthy as well. And, of course, no review is complete without mentioning the ever excellent voice work of Stuart Palmer as the Daleks. One of the strengths of the Altered Vistas productions are its voice actors and Curse Of The Daleks proves to be no exception.
Then there's the animation which gives the visuals to the production. While this production might have been based on a stage play it certainly doesn't have the feel of one. Instead, The Curse Of The Daleks has a feel of being something like an unmade AARU Dalek movie of the mid-1960's. The shots and editing all help to give it that impression plus the production is even in widescreen! Of all the Altered Vistas productions I've seen to date this one is certainly the most cinematic in its style and is all the better for it.
Then there's the script. My only real qualms with this production lie in its script which certainly isn't the fault of anyone involved in this production. Sadly, as Curse is based on a 1960's script it has all the social conventions and feelings of being a 1960's story. In particular the female characters and the male characters attitudes towards them help to date this story quite severely along with badly obvious 1960's sci-fi jargon (radio-pic machine for example). Looking past that though there's an interesting mystery at the heart of the plot, which seems to be a distant cousin of Patrick Troughton's debut story The Power Of The Daleks (which is the reason I was so interested in seeing this as Power is a favourite of mine).
What production would be complete without the special features? The Desert Island Discs program with William Hartnell was fantastic and absolutely convincing, so hats off to Jonathon Redwood! The Curse Cubed feature, thanks to Stuart Palmer's moody reading and the fantastic artwork of Iain McClumpha, makes for some fun viewing. The highlights of the Curse special features lie on the second disc in the form of a making of documentary about the original stage production (aptly titled Original Curse) and the Easter egg feature of a CGI reconstruction of scenes from The Power Of The Daleks. If there is any real shame in this no longer being available it is that the special features can't be seen. Perhaps the Loose Cannon team can take some of them?
The Curse Of The Daleks was a terrific productions. Everything that Altered Vistas prides itself on is here: the excellent voice acting, animation and one of a kind special features. While I'm eagerly awaiting the Big Finish audio version to come in the mail, I'm thankful that I had the chance to see this version.