Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Pratchett is not easy to bring to the stage successfully, but when it works, it is a form of magic. Not every thing in this production works well, but the parts that work are good.
The evening of five playlets opened with “Death and What Comes Next” featuring James Loader as the Philosopher and Hugh O’Connor as DEATH. Both extract the comedy from this short sketch and O’Connor makes a great DEATH.
“The Trial” (from the short story “The Sea and Little Fishes”) has our favourite witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg about to attend the witching trials, with many other Ramtop wiches. Nanny (played by Michelle Wichelo) has just been honoured and Granny (Pamela Munt) is jealous and the other witches don’t want Granny to compete, because she always wins! The scene is set for an interesting contest!
After interval “Hollywood Chickens” takes the action away from the Discworld and to the mad realm of American newscasts. Followed by “Turntables Of The Night” where DEATH makes another appearance. Both amusing but not quite as quirky as the Discworld tales.
The final offering takes us back to the Discworld “A Collegiate Casting Out Of Devilish Devices” showing us the best thinking of the elite in the Unseen University! Thoughout all five pieces we were guided by Pratchett’s clever character Footnote, played with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek by Samm Blackmore. She tells you herself that she is “the essential glue that holds it all together” (true also of Pratchett’s books).
The ensemble cast worked well together with great enthusiasm. There were good performances from the academic’s, Paul Messenger (Munstrum Ridcully), David Dyte (Dean) Christopher Bond (Chair of Indefinite Studies) and Loader and O’Connor returning as Senior Wrangler and a very funny Ponder Stibbons.
Lucy Haas-Hennessy, Catherine Moore and Kate Hall completed the cast as various witches, newsreaders and chickens against a simplified set which worked well in the confines of the Bakehouse. Kudos to Stephen Dean for the projected backdrops and effective lighting ( a touch loud on the sound at times) and full marks to Kahlia Tutty for great chicken costumes.
A fun show, but still more fun for the Pratchett fans than the uninitiated!