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Speak No Evil is an audio-book produced by Big Finish Productions. It was released in August 2012.
“The circus has come to Collinwood.”
Tad Collins, a man haunted by an unhappy childhood, is rich, arrogant and so terribly lonely.
Marie Olson, the tattooed lady, is haunted by a past that she has tried to escape.
Naturally, they hate each other.
But when a mysterious and sinister clown breaks into Collinwood to steal a book on the occult, Tad and Marie have to work together.
They don't realise, though, that the clown has plans for them both…
- Collinsport in the summer of 1855. The sun is beating down across the ocean and the great estate of Collinwood is empty. Its master Quentin Collins is on a business trip in Boston, a trip he has decided to share with his wife Daphne. In their absence their servants are enjoying a well-earned unpaid vacation, whilst their son Tad remains in Collinwood alone. A young and handsome man and yet, a lonely one. Tad is tainted by his family’s reputation. He stands to inherit their fortune good and bad, but it is the bad he shall inherit first of all. Because on this day the circus has come to Collinsport and Tad Collins has come to the circus.
Marie Olson, better known as the tattooed lady, calls out to stranger Tad Collins, and they talk about the mystical properties of her tattoos. Benji, a mute circus performer, interrupts them. Tad gleefully insults him, much to Benji’s annoyance. Tad decides to return to Collinwood, loudly announcing this fact to anyone in earshot.
- That man I mentioned before, his name was Tad, Tad Collins. He’d lived in Collinsport all his life. His family pretty much owns the place. Each of them has dark secrets and my story barely scrapes the surface of what they're hiding. But that’s beside the point. When Tad left us both that night he made his way back into town, he could have headed home of course back to his empty house, but there was sport to be had elsewhere. A tavern, much like this one, the perfect spot for ale, gambling, women. That’s the kind of man Tad Collins was, spoiled brat. He must have stayed there a good few hours alone, a man like that doesn’t have many friends unless he buys them. Then as dust began to fall he stumbled back to Collinwood. No woman, no friends, just him. It was such a beautiful summers night, before the clouds came rolling in.
Tad enters Collinwood. He hears a noise coming from upstairs. He searches for its source, which leads him to his father’s room where books and things have been strewn all over the place. He hears someone moving about in one of the corridors and finds Benji. They tussle and Benji runs off. Tad is surprised by what Benji has decided to steal.
- Of course any normal man would have waited until morning and then gone to the sheriff but not him. For a start Tad wasn’t normal, he was a Collins. Which meant he had an authority all his own. The officials could wait a while longer, they didn't need to get involved at least not until he’s had a chance to test his mettle. So off he went back to the carnival where naturally he was his usual charming self.
Now back at the circus, Tad continues to chase Benji. He encounters Marie again and argues with her about Benji breaking into Collinwood. She offers to help and manages to dissuade Tad from going to the police. Marie goes to get ready for her next performance. Tad follows her into her trailer. He tells her that Benji stole a book and six black wands. She tells him to wait for her until after her next performance and then they will go investigate Benji’s trailer together. He agrees to stay.
- He was true to his word, wouldn’t even leave the wagon. Although at least he had the common decency to turn his head toward the floor as a lady changed. That surprised me more than if he hadn’t, truth be told. But he knew he had something to prove he could just impose his will, not with Marie Olson. Too many men had tried before, and far better men than he. I followed him backstage when the performance was about to begin. A healthy crowd had already began to gather and our pianist took his place at the tatty old upright.
As Tad watches, Marie welcomes her audience and performs the song What is Home Without a Father?.
- The crowd was transfixed and so was Tad. That such a creature would have such a voice. What is home without a father indeed?
After the performance, Tad and Marie head to Benji’s trailer. Inside they look for the book and wands. Tad finds Benji’s journal and reads an extract from April 2nd, 1885. He observes that Benji mentions Marie a lot. Marie takes a look and realizes that Benji has been pining after her. Tad discovers a hidden compartment. It contains a necklace belonging to Marie that went missing a few weeks ago along with the book and wands that Benji stole from Collinwood. Marie notices the sign of the pentagram on the cover of the book and warns Tad about how dangerous items such as this can be. She flicks though the book, and they settle on page about the I Ching relating to how the wands are used. They decide to go to the hall of mirrors in the hope of finding Benji.
Marie calls out to Benji, she believes that the hall of mirrors is cursed. They search and find him, he is sitting still in a trance. Marie decides to join Benji in the trance. She joins hands with Tad so that he will be able to hear and communicate with her when she is under the trance. Upon entering the trance, she is transported to a wilderness at night, all she can see is stars in the sky. She hears the noise of a big top circus, finds it and enters. She finds Tad inside but it is Benji speaking through his aspect. He berates her for how she acts around Tad. She pleads with him to come home with her. He reveals that he wants to use the I Ching to swap bodies with Tad so that he can speak again. She decides to return to Tad and calls out to him. Benji vanishes. Tad tells her that Benji's physical form is moving. It attacks Tad. Tad fights back and Benji’s body falls limp to the ground. Marie comes out of the trance, she tells him he shouldn’t have let go of her. She is not Marie but Benji, who has swapped bodies with her. Marie, who now inhabits Benji’s body, whimpers. Tad pleads with Benji to switch back. Benji refuses. Tad leaves in disgust.
- I suspect he blamed himself. If it hadn’t been for his initial altercation perhaps none of this would have ever happened. But it did. It has and we, each of us, has had to live with it ever since. Marie vanished that same night. She just packed her bag and left. We never heard from her again. I suppose I was an obvious reminder of what had happened. Maybe if she felt if she didn’t see herself, see me inside her body, perhaps then she’d have a better chance at life. As for Mr. Tad Collins, well, who knows what happened to him. I headed up to Collinwood the day before we left. Not to make amends, just to, well, just return what was rightfully his. The I Ching wands and manuscript. It was an odd exchange, for a man who had so much to say he was strangely silent. Barely even looked me in the eye. He was a changed man and I knew it. But, for better or worse I wouldn't like to say. All I know is he turned his back on her that night, and I think he finally saw himself for what he truly is. A Collins through and through. His time will come, of that I’m certain. After the night he spent at the circus, the night he met the clown who couldn't speak and the tattooed lady who broke his heart. Maybe, just maybe, Tad Collins will be ready when it does.
Background information and notes
- Marie performs the song What is Home Without a Father?. It was written in 1854 by Louis S. D. Rees.
- This is the second Big Finish audio not to feature any members of the original series' cast.
- Included at the end of this release are trailers for The House By The Sea, The Creeping Fog & The Blind Painter
Bloopers and continuity errors
At one point, Arthur Darvill mentions a date of "1885" instead of "1855" when this story is set.