WATER LANE THEATRE COMPANY
Director – Juliet Richards
Reviewed at Charis Centre, Bishops Stortford on Friday 10th November 2017
Over the short period during which I have had the pleasure of reviewing productions by this Society, I have found them to be just as much at home with stage adaptations of TV comedies as they are with Shakespeare, Jane Austen and now taking on the challenge of Stephen Briggs’ stage adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s book in the Discworld series.
The venue was configured to form an intimate theatre with good lighting and excellent sound effects courtesy of Will Jamieson and his assistants. Conventional scenery would probably not be an option here. Instead, the three screens (either side of the stage and to the back) showing a succession of beautiful illustrations by Granville Rush, not only complimented the action but added a great sense of fun to the proceedings. Set changes were carried out swiftly and without interruption to the pace of the show.
The witches were well cast with Penelope Reeves giving a good portrayal of the most dominate of the three characters, Granny Weatherwax. She was well supported by Jacqui Kinnison as the upfront and slightly vulgar Nanny Ogg. Great facial expressions! Emma Pink was delightful as the excitable junior witch Magrat Garlick, keen to learn the ropes and relishing in her own ideas of witchcraft much to the annoyance of her elders.
Michael Beavan and Becky Deal made a good comic pairing as the weak Duke who finally succumbs to insanity, and the overbearing Duchess.
There were other good performances from Greg Hill as Tomjon and Adam Andrews as Fool, whose charming scenes with Magrat displayed some good sensitive acting. I wish him well at drama school.
Granville Rush looked suitably ghostly as the late King, mingling with the various characters and watching to see who would finally succeed him.
There was a good supporting cast, doubling up where necessary and morphing seamlessly from one character to another. Well done to Amanda Green who really puts her all into her characterisations. I liked her portrayal of Hwel.
The gazebos at the side of the auditorium with their backs to the audience were presumably acting as dressing rooms. But festooned with bunting as they were they added another dimension to the set and didn’t look at all out of place. Erected out of necessity, they could easily have passed for a street scene. Well thought out.
Congratulations on tackling this complex play. Under the direction of Juliet Richards this was another production the Society can be proud of.Decia Ranger