Report by: Gordon Richardson on Thursday 28 July 2016 Venue: Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond Director: Beki Stevenson
This stage adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel Wyrd Sisters was a laugh from the very first sentence to the thought provoking finale. Based loosely (very loosely) on Shakespeare’s Scottish play, all of the Discworld characters neatly ‘fitted’ into expected roles. Gary and Julie Winn portrayed well the roles of the Duke of Lancre and Lady Felmet his wife, looking and acting like their alternative universe evil Macbeth and Lady Macbeth characters. The Duke had murdered Verence (King of Lancre) but his ghost played prominently throughout, brought to ‘life’ by the talented Martin Ash.
What Scottish Play look-alike would be complete without three witches - but these three endeared themselves to the appreciative audience from the outset with their witty dialogue and different personalities. Magrat Garlick (Alex Caffery) the youngest witch and effectively still learning her trade showed her vulnerability as she ‘fell’ for the court Fool confidently played by Scott Fenney. Nanny Ogg, the kindly witch with a ruthless streak was superbly played by Amanda Heitler. Last but not least was Granny Weatherwax – a somewhat judgemental but contemplative character who was not afraid to make the tough decisions. The role was played to perfection by Barbara Hughes.
(Reluctant) advice from a Demon (Chris Wellings) persuades the witches to intervene in order to save the kingdom. Verence's infant son, Tomjon – played by Ross Hutchinson – was given by the witches to lowly strolling players ('Vitoller', Mike Walker, and 'Mrs Vitoller', Jenny Roberts) to stop him also being murdered by the Duke. Tomjon made a late appearance when the Duke commissioned Hwel (Doug Clayton) to create a play to show him in a good light with his subjects.
Discworld fan or otherwise, this story - with some classic ‘one liners’ – was brought to life with versatile staging, good costuming, superb casting and complemented by an ensemble of peasants, guards and players. Beki Stevenson is to be congratulated on a finely directed play well enjoyed by all.
" Alle Thee Dysk's A Stage"
Terry Pratchett takes Shakespeare's Macbeth and then turns it up 'till the knob comes off. It's all there - a wicked duke and duchess, the ghost of the murdered king, dim soldiers, strolling players, a land in peril. And who stands between the Kingdom and destruction? Three witches. Granny Weatherwax (intolerant, self-opinionated, powerful), Nanny Ogg (down-to-earth, vulgar) and Magrat Garlick (naïve, fond of occult jewellery and bunnies).
RADS present this play on Stephen Briggs' assurance that it can be staged without the budget of Industrial Light & Magic. That, and his promise that the cast should be able to be in the pub by 10 o'clock.