Masterful is many things – a celebration of a classic character, the WHO version of an Avengers movie, a showcase for superb actors and a hysterical comedy.
The best way to describe the plot of Masterful is simple: The Master. That’s it. This is a showcase for each of the surviving actors who have played The Master to step up, have their turn and provide three hours of glorious, riotous entertainment. This isn’t high brow WHO, this is a broad comedy, a balls out bawdy celebration of the Doctor’s greatest nemesis. James Goss has crafted a tribute that manages to succinctly capture the tone, mannerisms and essence of each of the Masters.
I would be remiss not to highlight a few of my favourite performances:
Michelle Gomez – she is simply stunning, a genuine tour de force from a performer who dominates each and every scene she is in. Missy is at her most wild, unhinged and gloriously funny. Goss provides Gomes with dialogue that she chews on, and then spits out with such force and sheer vigour that it is impossible to ignore. This lady is in the same scene as Derek Jacobi, and I can only remember her performance. Stunning, legendary and a blue print of how a gender swapped Time Lord should be portrayed.
Eric Roberts – an utter joy. Roberts captures not only his Master, but fully embraces the camp excesses of the part. He is imply wonderful to listen to here, and a Television reprise is a must after this. Roberts is worth the price of admission alone – he is fun, menacing and absolutely sensational. A superb actor, who is cruelly and sadly overlooked these days. A proper legend.
John Simm. Simm goes full Frankie Howerd here, and his performance is all the better for it. I was in tears of laughter at how he approached the part – absolutely wonderful – he plays this a bit more broad and camp then his last televised appearance – but no matter, this is Simm at his most entertaining.
Derek Jacobi – trust an old pro to find a bit of humanity and a bit of subtlety in his latest performance. He is a unmitigated joy here. Savour him – a proper acting legend.
This is not to say that Mark Gattis, Geoffrey Beevers, Alex McQueen, Milo Parker are bad – they aren’t, each would be a star turn on their own, however the above performers are SO assured, their parts approached with such gusto that it is hard to look past their sterling work.
I must, in closing give a massive shout out to the legend that is Katy Manning, her Jo Grant, ably assisted by a Jon Culshaw powered Third Doctor. She provides a tangible and welcome link back to The Masters first appearance.
I cannot end, without giving a much needed tip of the hat to Messer’s Delgado and Ainley. Two superb actors who provided the platform for all those who followed to explore. The world of Doctor Who is sadly smaller, and less fun without them.
The Master, we have attended, and we have enjoyed! Here’s to another 50 years of crazy schemes, high collars, “Drezzing for the occasion” and shrinking rays, disguises, and beards (of all descriptions)