Word Count: 12644
Author's Summary: “Braxiatel directs amateur community theatre in the small village of Gallifrey. Romana is the Council Leader in Gallifrey, and uses theatre as a political distraction. Eventually they hold hands. (Mundane AU of Gallifrey.)”
Characters: Irving Braxiatel, Leela, Narvin, Romana II, The Doctor (8th), Andred, K9, cameos from Eight’s companions
Pairings: Romana II/Brax, Leela/Narvin, Leela/Andred
This is a mundane AU remix of Aralias’s excellent The Importance of Being On Stage, which is also about Brax having to rustle the denizens of Gallifrey into amateur dramatics and well worth a read. Neveralarch’s version is funny (how could anything about Gallifrey as a middle England town and Brax being dragooned into running its am-dram fail to be funny?) and lovely, with great world-building that uses all kinds of canon well and doesn’t leave you feeling left out if you don’t remember who Samson and Gemma are (don’t worry, the Doctor doesn’t remember who they are either). It’s an ensemble fic before it’s anything else, though its shippy elements are variously satisfying and amusing.
I think you’d even dig this story if you didn’t know the Gallifrey audios and had only a passing familiarity with Big Finish. Brax is the Doctor’s brother and he has a morally-dubious art collection and also does grandiose political machinations back on the Time Lord ranch and pines after Romana and nothing ever works out for him—there, you’re good to go, enjoy.
There are a lot of good jokes:
"Is that why you came?" asked Romana. "Make a play with your brother and get him all sorts of good press? Drag Brax out of hiding? "
"That would be good, wouldn't it?" said Theta. "Remind me to say that next time someone asks. No, I'm afraid it really is court-ordered. I borrowed a police vehicle, painted it blue, and then drove around London until someone noticed and arrested me. It was Fitz's idea."
"Was it really?" asked Romana.
"Well, he suggested- he agreed-" Theta hesitated. "Actually, I think it may have been my idea."
Romana patted his hand. "Doctor, please never change."
"I'll try not to," said Theta, and beamed.
And some good character work gets in there too:
“Romana hauled herself up onto the stage, somewhat awkwardly - she always thought it would be easier to pull herself up than walk over to take the stairs, and she was always wrong.”
And as with the original, the idea of Brax and the Doctor’s mother as Lady Bracknel is too perfect for this world:
“There was rarely a full stage - someone always had a dentist appointment, an extra load of work, a burning need to weed the garden (really, mother?). Kay kept handing people props or pieces of clothing, only to whisk them away five minutes later to alter them again.”
“"My nephew," said Braxiatel's mother, word-perfect for all that she had missed practically every rehearsal, "you seem to be displaying signs of triviality."
The fact that this has 0 comments on Teaspoon and but two admirers on Ao3 is a travesty. THE CHARLEY CAMEO ALONE, PEOPLE!! Also, special prize for best use of a Monan Host. ...only use of a Monan Host.