The Authentic Experience - Big Finish - Short TripsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 4 February 2018 - Reviewed by Matt Tiley
The Authentic Experience (Credit: Big Finish)

Producer Ian Atkins; Script Editor Ian Atkins
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Written By: Dan Starkey; Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


Nicola Bryant (Narrator)

Available now from Big Finish

"Peri strokes the stubble on his jawline with a calloused thumb."

That is quite an intriguing opening line for a story featuring the sixth Doctor and his FEMALE assistant Peri. I haven't listened to a lot of the sixth Doctor's material that is available from Big Finish - I was beginning to wonder what I had missed!
In this, the 37th Short Trips release from Big Finish, the Doctor and Peri find themselves caught up in a very dubious tourism venture whereby people can become anything, anywhere and anytime via some dodgy technology, and a handy avatar. All while they sleep, creating the titular Authentic Experience.
With a not so short running time of forty five minutes, The Authentic Experience is the longest Short Trips I have listened to so far. There is a lot going on, possibly a bit too much - but fear not the story doesn't out-sty it's welcome.
In it we essentially find Peri's conscience trapped in an avatar that is projected into the past. The story plays a bit Carnival of Monsters crossed with Quantum Leap, as Peri is flung between different realities, sometimes as a man, sometimes a woman....and once, very briefly, a dog. While all the time the Doctor wrangles with the machine that is controlling her experience. The only downfall of it all is that once we get used to what is going on, it does become a little repetitive, and slightly predictable. With the machine itself becoming the ultimate Deus ex machina. Something that Who is sometimes a tad over reliant on as a plot device.
The story is written by Dan Starkey (The Paternoster Gang's very own Strax, of course), and it really does romp along. I'd be very keen to listen to more of his material. The narration is by Peri herself Nicola Bryant, which is great as it is nice to have a character that has a voice so different to Bryant's own, it gives the story that little bit more range.
The Authentic Experience is another rather enjoyable entry into this fast growing series.