Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies
By Massey University Drama Society
At Hokowhitu Campus
Reviewed by Mervyn Dykes
If there are two words designed to get a lover of fantasy's juices running there's a good chance they would be "Terry Pratchett".
Take his flat-earth-style creation, Discworld, for example. It barrels through space balanced on the backs of four elephants which are in turn standing on a giant star turtle.
Surely nothing "ordinary" could happen in such a magic-infused world?
Massey University's young players make a bold attempt to prove this in their recreation of Lords and Ladies, Pratchett's 14th Discworld book and the third to feature a trio of wacky witches out to save the world.
The story opens with Granny Weatherwax and cohorts Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick returning to the Kingdom of Lancre after their doings in the previous book, Witches Abroad.
They discover that the barrier between Lancre and the land of the dark elves ( the Lords and Ladies) has worn thin.
Matters have been worsened by a group of young women dabbling in things witchy.
The last straw comes when a play is rehearsed near an ancient stone circle and allows the Queen of the Elves and her equally evil helpers to cross into Lancre.
The play was designed to be an entertainment at the wedding of King Verence and his vacillating intended, Magrat, but the Queen of the Elves sees marriage to him as a means of legitimising her claim to the land.
Is Granny Weatherwax up to the challenge?
The cast gave it their all, but on opening night the audience was too small to reach critical mass and gave them little back to play off or to.
Another problem was that the imagery in Pratchett's books is so vivid that readers have no trouble building the world in their minds.
However, the stage setting and costuming in the Massey production were too spartan and ordinary to encourage the same effect.
With a bigger and noisier audience it might have been possible to get away with it, but not last night.
This said, Massey Drama Society's young players deserve every credit for the energy and effort they put into this production which opens their 2012 season. It's an ensemble piece with some actors playing two or more parts, but there are some standout performances.
Granny Weatherwax had to be strong and Jess McLean carried the role off well. Natalie Peart as Magrat started quietly but gained strength throughout.
Maddie Jardine had great fun swaggering about as the lover Casanunda and Shivarn Stewart managed some menace as the Queen of The Elves.
There are five more nights in the run - (Friday 11th) and the folllowing night and Thursday to Saturday next week. The show starts at 7.30pm in the old College of Education building and there are two ticket prices - $15 for the waged and a $10 concession.
Go see it. Give them some rowdy support. They deserve it.
- © Fairfax NZ News