|Date||12th October 2013|
|Venue||The Lister Hall, Dursley|
|Type of Production||Play|
Author: Graeme Savage for Frankie Telford
Terry Pratchett’s books and their stage adaptations can be brave choices for drama societies in these difficult times - Pratchett fans are notoriously protective over the physical presentation of a world so brilliantly conjured up in their imaginations thanks to Pratchett’s prose; and non-fans can feel excluded from a universe so detailed and intricately created that they can make devoted Trekkies and Whovians look like mildly interested observers! What a pleasure it was to see the Lister Hall very full on this Saturday evening, not least beacause they were treated to a very funny, well-produced evening, which had clearly been generating some exciting word-of-mouth sales through the week.
First-time director Jalea Ward is clearly in the devoted fan camp, and her direction and pacing allowed the actors to be very obviously enjoying and understanding their characters, comfortably easing the audience into this strange world. For a play which is very much about words and their meanings, and misinterpretations, clarity is essential for the audiences understanding, and the whole cast’s diction was very clear throughout. In a relatively small but uniformly strong company, special mention must be made for the titular Wyrd Sisters played by Vicky Howgego, Lizzie Lindsell and Michelle Bland, who had a lovely comedic chemistry, and as quasi-narrators, were excellent guides for this audience into this strange land. I liked the way that the recognisable parts of Shakespeare plays were delivered in the same way as the rest of the script, without ‘telegraphing’ them to the audience - it’s nice for the audience who do spot the references to get them subtly, while not alienating those less familiar with the Bard’s works, and letting Pratchett’s story speak for itself.
Technically, this was a very impressive show, from the versatile and well built set, which needed minimal props and additions to transport us to very different parts of the kingdom, to the ‘piéce de resistance’, the appearance of the holographic spirit within the flames. Props and costumes complemented this very effectively, and the whole space was used well - the cast were very confident in their moves & entrances, adding to the comedic spirit (especially the Monty Python-esque Sergeant in the first half). The lighting and sound effects were also very effective. If I would have changed one thing, it would have been to have had fewer blackouts between scenes - personally, I don’t think audiences are too worried about having to have scene changes ‘hidden’, and whereas having so many blackouts did begin to slow the pace, most noticeably during the second half as the scenes were shorter and the story was reaching its conclusion.
Overall, a very good production and a throroughly entertaining evening. As ever, the welcome from the front of house team was very warm, making up admirably for the filthy weather! I wish DODS the best of luck for their future performances, and look forward to visiting again soon.