Unseen Academicals | Bakehouse TheatreLeft - Hugh O'Connor and Samm Blackmore. Cover - Ally Preece, Hugh O'Connor, Paul Messenger and Philip Lineton. Photos - Stephen Dean

You may not be a fan of the works of Terry Pratchett. But you do have an opportunity to become a fan of Adelaide theatre. In what could only be described as a "tough night out for actors", the audience attending was treated to a courageous course of farce, mayhem and soccer jokes when the cast of Unseen Academicals took to the stage, directed by Pratchett aficionado Pamela Munt. Courageous because the cast did all they could within the confines of the claustrophobic Bakehouse Theatre. With an already small space divided into two performing areas, the cast performing on the downstage area soldiered on through the noisy, and highly visible, distraction of crew changing scenery upstage.

Distractions aside, this yarn of star crossed football fans, wizards and goblins was a delight with just the right amount of humour. The tale of Mr. Nutt unfolded with ease as the Saccharissa Cripslock (Trudi Pavlovsky) nursed those of us unschooled in Pratchett through the narrative. Mr. Nutt, looking a little too Shrek-ish, was played with a soft and appealing demeanour by David Dyte. By plays end Goblins had been re-interpreted as practical and pragmatic folk - even if the colour of the Goblin ears didn't quite match the actors' skin.

Keeping the action on course Samm Blackmore never backed away from her delightfully stern Glenda. Amanda Flynn playing Juliet had a touch of Catherine Tate in her voice and more than once broke the golden rule of the stage, delivering lines with her back to the audience. This was no fault of Ms Flynn however. How does an actor face the audience when the characters main action is dictated by set placement?

Being a fly on the wall in the wizards‚ boardroom was a treat, especially when you're spying on the likes of Hugh O'Connor and Alistair Preece. Enough was done by both actors to make you totally forget about that other school of wizardry. An honourable mention goes to Paul Messenger as Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully and the inventive fashion parade during interval.

But the night belonged to two actors in particular. Mark Ormsby was a Cockney dynamo as Trev and Phillip Lineton, a now familiar face on the Adelaide stage, as Lord Havelock Vetinari. Both managed to deliver one liners with precision and maintained a strong stage presence while allowing their fellow actors room to move, which is a task for any actor at the Bakehouse.

As an example of actors rising above the venue this production deserves to be seen. A dedicated school tour of larger venues would do more justice to this fine cast.

Unseen Theatre Company present
Sir Terry Pratchett’s
Unseen Academicals
Original adaptation by Stephen Briggs | Re-adapted by Pamela Munt

Directed by Pamela Munt

Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas Street, Adelaide.
Dates: 9 – 24 April, 2010
Times: Wed - Sat at 8pm
Tickets: Adults $18, Conc $15, Groups (10+) $14, Fringe Benefits $14
Bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com (no booking fee for on-line bookings) | 82270505 ($2 per ticket booking fee applies)

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