The witches of Lancre, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick are Discworld’s only hope when the Elves, the ‘Lords and Ladies’ of the title, threaten to cross from their dark realm to the world on the Great A’Tuin’s back. Terry Pratchett’s fantasy tale interweaves his own creations, such as The Librarian, Casanunda and Mustrum Ridcully of the Unseen University, with those of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in this fast-moving and exciting adaptation.
Technical Crew Details:
Steve Harris, Gareth Williscroft
Fiona Harrison, Lynda Hall
Sheila Bird, Michelle Tomas, Dawn Lock, Vanessa Buck, Heidi Bush, Emma Griffin
Mike Brown, Steve Harris
Tim Young, Julia Young
Reviewed by Theo Spring for The Croydon Advertiser
Despite the vicissitudes of our summer weather the optimistic (and hardy) folk of the Theatre Workshop continue their annual production in the garden of The Woodman pub in Woodmansterne and this year the tall trees amongst which the sets were built added hugely to this tale of faerie folk, where the witches were good and the elves were bad.
To try and explain the plot of this Terry Pratchett Discworld piece, with all its twists and turns, would cover the whole page. Suffice it to say that Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are two benevolent if slightly mischievous witches – Nanny with three sons who help the tale along in various guises and Granny with a thwarted love affair behind her. Add in Magrat – wannabee witch and betrothed to marry King Verence – three wise men and an orangutan from The Unseen University who are travelling to the wedding and the tale begins to get complex.
Tanya Allison and Penny Payne, as Granny and Nanny respectively, delivered their intrigue with clarity and cunning with Emma Griffin as the delightful Magrat turning from demure bride into a virago to defend her groom.
Luke Argles brought just the right amount of pomposity to Verence, bumbling nicely when wedding night expectations were mentioned. Bumbling wonderfully too was Chris Argles as the hapless Bursar whose dottiness and pill-dependency increased as the tale progressed. Bullish rather than bumbly are the Morris men tasked to present a play as entertainment for the wedding – boozy local yokels for whom Pratchett ‘borrowed’ the tale of the Rude Mechanicals from Midsummer Night’s Dream. Another blatant borrow is the tale of the Billy Goats Gruff, cleverly interwoven.
Further players inhabit this enchanted world like the Archchancellor to whom Richard Lloyd brings longing for love, Stibbons (Mark Taylor) and Paul Ford as the animated orangutan. Dawn Lock was commanding as the Elf Queen and Tim Young as Casanunda used his best Italian accent to woo Nany Ogg. Lisa Lloyd had an excellent line in curtseys as Millie and Hannah Montgomery as Diamanda led her team of rebellious young witches with aplomb. John East was the put-upon palace servant Shawn Ogg
The many cameo roles added appropriate mystery to the show with a special mention for those eerie elves.
Costumes were, well, magical, and plaudits must go to the creators of the set and designers and operators of the sound and lighting – not easy tasks outdoors.
Director Mike Brown, aided by a large and very competent cast, really did create a fairytale of note and I trust the rest of the run stayed as dry as we all did on the first Thursday night.