Sunday, 11 December 2016

'Wyrd Sisters' - The Apollo Players

Terry Pratchett is widely regarded as a god of fantasy literature. To attempt to stage a play based on one of his novels is in itself commendable, and to achieve the mixture of charm, hilarity and sheer silliness worthy of the book and play versions of 'Wyrd Sisters' is a credit to directors Dan Burns and Eve Fradgley, and to their cast.

The play opens with some slightly familiar lines: 'When shall we three meet again?', delivered by a trio of suitably weird-looking witches, the Wyrd Sisters of the title. The reply however is less Shakespearean: 'I can make next Wednesday,' says a witch, consulting her diary.

This sets the atmosphere for the play, introducing characters at once familiar and strange: the witches themselves are dominated by Granny Weatherwax:, played with hilarious gravity by Carole Crow, with homely, motherly Nanny Ogg and young, inexperienced romantic Magrat Garlick, brought to dreamy-eyed life by Carol Simpson.

Meanwhile in the castle, the ghost of a murdered King (David Pratchett) waits to get his revenge on evil Duke Felmet: Simon Cardew's manic portrayal of the guilty Duke sinking further and further into madness, trying to scrub invisible blood from his hands with a nail file is a joy, while Glenys Lloyd-Williams flounces around the stage cracking her whip, perfect as his scheming wife.

A baby and a crown are spirited away into an acting troop - babies, Granny explains, are easy to hide as there are so many of them, while crowns have a habit of being found. But when both are needed to save the kingdom, magic spells, accompanied by pyrotechnics and smoke of course, along with a play within a play, save the day and in true Pratchett fashion the evil Duke and Duchess are defeated and the true king - sort of - rules. Magrat gets her man - the Fool, played by Mark Duffus - and all live happily ever after.

Other notable mentions go to John Sole as the leader of the actors, Amy Burns as Tomjon and Dave Talbot as the Chamberlain, and they are supported by a background cast of Apollo actors taking on various roles including guards, robbers and actors.

'Wyrd Sisters' is perfect pre-Christmas viewing with its pantomime-like features and humour, and is suitable for all the family. it runs from Tuesday 13th to Saturday 17th December with performance starting at 7.30pm.

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