Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lords and Ladies - Review - People's Theatre

Lords and Ladies
People's Theatre
19th July 2016

Based on the book by Terry Pratchett, adapted for the stage by Irana Brown, Lords and Ladies is a mad tale of magic, folklore and politics...

Disc World has become complacent. Years of peace have worn away the knowledge of what life was like before the elves (whisper it, they come out when they are called) were banished. Those days have sunk into folklore - tales to scare the children, not real.  But the elves have been plotting and they want to claim back their land. The old Witches' powers have waned and there are few of them left. The young people are dabbling in magic and setting themselves up as New Witches with new magic, and they are drawn to the tales of the Elves, seduced by the glamour. The Elves are waiting their chance and preying on the weak to inveigle their way back into the world they once ruled.

The People's Theatre have once again taken on the challenge of a big cast production with over 25 characters. And that's before you even consider the legacy of Terry Pratchett hovering over the whole proceeding! But as usual the People's team have taken on the challenge and presented a blinding production. Magnificent costumes, spectacular sound and lighting, a few clever special effects and some almost perfect comic timing make this an incredible show. We have morris dancers, wizards, witches - old and new. You have to love the teenage emo witches with their carefully ragged outfits and their self-consciously co-ordinated black lace handkerchiefs). An unexpected king and his queen to be, chosen from his subjects ( like all good fairy tales). Wicked elves, a glamourous bad queen and of course, an Orang-utan.
Pratchett tips the wink to all manner of art and literature from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream to modern film ( yes, Arnie gets in there too). If you were thinking it's all sounding a bit panto-ish, you'd not be far wrong, and of course, there is nothing the People's theatre do better than panto and Shakespeare.
The characters are colourful, larger than life, the humour is witty and bawdy, and at times cuttingly sharp. The tale is one of good versus evil, and the dangers of lessons not learned, or possibly forgotten. There's a lot going on in this play - and if you aren't familiar with Pratchett you have to pay attention to keep up with the plot! If you do then you will be rewarded with romance, fight scenes, lots of silliness and much laughter!

Standout performances from Sarah Scott as Magrat Garlick, Kath Frazer as Granny Witherwack, and Val Russell as nanny Og, who btween them save the day! Aided and abetted by the Rude Mechanicals and Sean Og (David Robson). One last round of applause to Count Casanunda - the world's second best lover, played fabulously by John MacDonaold. he deserves an Oscar for coping with that wig!

All in all this is a marvellous feel good production with a serious message about society if you'd care to look for it, or you could just enjoy the spectacle of a well put together hilarious show!

Lords and Ladies plays till 23rd July.

Denise Sparrowhawk

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