Nobody presents a Pratchett play like Pamela Munt and her Unseen Theatre Company. Monstrous Regiment, their latest offering at the Bakehouse Theatre is another winner.
Many comedies have satirised the folly of war, but very few would dare to establish parallels between a fantasy world – set on the back of a giant turtle swimming through the cosmos – and modern conflict here on Earth. Yet although the play is based on a speculative fiction novel, Director Pamela Munt requests honesty from her cast, and it pays off. Kahlia Tutty, playing Polly Perks, the girl who cuts her hair in a hurry to become a boy (Oliver), swings readily from walking, talking and farting like a man; to familial loyalty, questioning soldier, hip swivelling feminine washerwoman and action hero who knees the Prince of Zlobenia in the sock drawers.
There’s a war on of course. There’s always a war on. And Sgt Jackrum (Paul Messenger) is on a recruiting drive. Even he is shocked when a bunch of unlikely lads volunteer. Amongst the new batch are; Maladict - a vampire who has gone cold bat and forsworn taking human blood – who is addicted to coffee, is a bundle of suppressed instincts and is played wonderfully by Kristofa Cassono, an Igor (think Marty Feldman in “Young Frankenstein”) who may actually be an Igorina made more than interesting by Philip Lineton, and a show stealing Troll named Carborundum superbly portrayed as a granite minded oaf by David Geddes.
Just a few actors and some rough props bring the magic and madness of Discworld to life. In many ways the production has the heart of a pantomime-cum-sitcom, with many of Pratchett’s lines delivered with gleeful seriousness. For example, Carborundum says “I joined to see exciting ‘forrin’ places and meet erotic people." Everyone knows what he (or is it she) means and it garners more than a giggle because it’s delivered in a deadpan style. There are plenty of funny one-liners but on the odd occasion the play does creak under the weight of its condensed script. But that is a minor point.
Monstrous Regiment is not just one for Discworld fans, it’s a diverting and enjoyable production that’s more than niche entertainment.
Unseen Theatre Company presents
Sir Terry Pratchett
Director Pamela Munt
Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre | 255 Angas Street Adelaide
Dates: 17 Sep 2010 - 2 Oct 2010
Tickets: Adults $18, Concession $14, Groups (10+) $14, Fringe Benefits $14
Bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com or 82270505