Date of Review:
11 Feb 2012
PRATCHETT PIECES THREE - "THEATRE PEOPLE" REVIEW.
Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are, perhaps, legendary, with many having been adapted for the stage - with varying degrees of success. In Unseen’s Pratchett Pieces Three, five of his short stories (three involving the now famous Discworld) have been adapted by Pamela Munt with great success. They all have the right degree of quirkiness, are very funny and tied together well by that very Pratchettian device: the Footnote (nicely played by Samm Blackmore).
In the past, some of the Company’s productions have faltered by being over-long, actors lacking the knowledge of their material, extremely large casts and acting skills ranging from very good to the ‘don’t give up your day job’ variety - not so in this case.
The eleven cast members (Blackmore, James Loader, Hugh O’Connor, Michelle Wichelo, Lucy Haas-Hennessy, Catherine Moore, Kate Hall, Christopher Bond, Paul Messenger and co-directors Munt and David Dyte) make a tight, strong ensemble giving good performances all round and clearly showing an understanding of the characters and humour involved. Their love for the knighted author shines through ten-fold.
Some acting highlights are the aforementioned Blackmore; Munt’s now finely honed Granny Weatherwax; Wichelo’s nice ‘down on the farm’ earthy quality as Nanny Ogg; O’Connor’s booming Death; Hall as an all too-believable research officer (complete with a marvellous drone to her voice); and Messenger as a hilarious Scottish accented Lucky Charms salesman, Zakzak and a great Graham Chapmanesque Mustrum Ridcully.
To make this production just that more perfect, Loader could have been aged for the first half; both “Hollywood Chickens” and “Turntables Of The Night” could be trimmed slightly (and the male newsreader needs to lose the tutu - it’s a dated Monty Python gag that is now as funny and sophisticated as slipping on a banana peel); and a major blocking incident during “The Trial” could be simply avoided by having Footnote appear from side of stage at that point.
But all that is very minor in the greater scheme of this production. It is a very funny, enjoyable night of entertainment that should most definitely appease true Pratchett lovers, and highly likely to bag him quite a few new converts.