Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 8pm nightly, 10th – 24th Feb 2012
Tickets: Adults $18/concession $15/Fringe Benefits $15
Bookings: http://www.bakehousetheatre.com/ (for performances Feb 10 to 21), http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/ (for performances Feb 22, 23, 24)
It is no wonder that these highly complex pieces of theatre, adapted from the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett, worked so well. When Granny Weatherwax is your director nothing dares go wrong!
In our world Granny Weatherwax is sometimes known as Pamela Munt, and it is thanks to her passion and skill that Adelaide audiences have the chance to live with yet more Pratchett Pieces. She also has an unerring nose for witchfinding (thankfully not in the Spanish Inquisition sense) with Michelle Wichelo (the name gives her true identity away), Lucy Haas-Hennessy, Kate Hall and Catherine Moore showing their inner witchiness. Michelle Wichelo brings the lovable rapscallion, Nanny Ogg, to life, with her confident and apparently relaxed body language, a foil for Granny Weatherwax’s upright total power. Lucy Haas-Hennessy was totally believable as Mrs Lettice Earwigg, a character we have all had dealings with at some time, the bossy self-important committee person who requires everyone to do her bidding and, when her world disintegrates with that shocking slap, all I can say is that I think the audience felt the shock too. Catherine Moore as Gammer Beavis was appropriately fluttery as Mrs Earwigg’s sidekick, a good witch, doing her best, who finds herself supporting the wrong side, and Kate Hall is obviously a natural witch, she has such confident stage presence no matter which role she plays.
Death, of course, made his appearance at the beginning of the show (what did you expect from Pratchett?) anthropomorphised by Hugh O’ Connor, who somehow managed to completely change into Ponder Stibbons at the end of the show, with the linking factor being both entities’ ability to argue logically and persistently, albeit one from total certain knowledge and from nerdy knowledge.
Death also made an appearance in Turntables of the Night, and just how would YOU explain his appearance to a police officer? Paul Messenger shows us what happens when our world collides with the Discworld, and this piece, combined with the Hollywood Chickens story (it’s not what you imagine), somehow makes this world seem very much the unnatural one.
The last of the pieces bought us back into the reality of both worlds, with another committee meeting, this one at Unseen University. Paul Messenger was Mustrum Ridcully to the life, and with his fellow academicals, Christopher Bond, James Loader, Hugh O’Connor and David Dyte, showed us what we have always expected to be the truth about university life, with humour, accuracy and characterisation.
* Footnote –
As in all Pratchett’s work, the footnote (narrator) plays such an important part that Samm Blackmore has to have her own paragraph. Her enjoyment of this part was obvious and she felt entirely natural. She has the talent of connecting with the audience whist still being an observer and explainer of the stage action.
Reviewed by Christine Pyman, Visual Arts Critic and Special Guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide.