Unseen Theatre Company continues to amuse audiences and cast its magical spell with its latest offering Reaper Man. The play claps through its paces, under the bubbly co-direction of David Dyte and Pamela Munt. Naturally, this production is primed expressly for Discworld devotees. For everyone else it's probably going to be unremarkable. But for Sir Terry Pratchett fans the play is laugh-out-loud funny, incessantly pleasurable, and totally memorable.
With its likeable mixture of satire and humanity, Munt's highly skilful adaptation of Pratchett's eleventh Discworld novel is faithful and smooth. The production is engaging, active and smart, if a tad congested. Yet as a ludicrous romp it's difficult not to enjoy.
Although not quite as compelling as other Unseen re-imaginings, Reaper Man is an ambitious, thoughtful and potent comedy that realises the Discworld in spectacular fashion and benefits from Hugh O'Connor's charismatic work - in his first leading role - as DEATH. The tale is studded with references that make most sense to those intimate with Pratchett's novels, and who love his elegant satire, peppered with gleaming ideas, with a unique narrative and, most significantly, lots of heart.
When DEATH begins to develop a personality, the Auditors of Reality banish him to a normal existence on the Discworld. Under the alias Bill Door, DEATH takes up employment on Miss Flitworth's (Munt) farm. As a result of this exile, nothing dies properly which results in the undead seeking equal rights and the recently deceased wizard Windle Poons not enjoying his afterlife. From these beginnings the mayhem starts and there's plenty of humorous adventures before the final curtain.
Produced with an amateur cast - all are solid - with astonishing imagination and homage, the play is bright, genuinely funny, gleefully entertaining, very clever and imaginative indeed. It's creators throw everything they've got into the show which makes it hugely charming.
Unseen Theatre Company presents
At The Bakehouse Theatre
Dates: until 29 September, 2012
Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre