Will it be alright on the Night?


Another term, another helping of Pratchett. Whilst this Michaelmas has remained astoundingly (but refreshingly) short of Shakespeare, and the fresh new writing of cuppers is just over the horizon, Discworld remains a favourite source to plunder for scripts – this time by Orielite Director and producer Luke Yiu.

At this point in a review it’s customary to give a short précis of the plot, but I have to admit that despite the (rather clunky) use of a narrator I still couldn’t fathom it out. I’m sure it’s challenging to explain by sheer force of acting that Commander Vimes (the lead, played by Alfie Lewis) has met a past version of himself after travelling back in time, but there’s no way I’d even have gotten this much had the director not explained it to me beforehand. I suppose such a sense of confusion can be interesting, Kafkaesque even – but here it was just annoying.

The choreography was stilted, the acting was wooden, and the whole thing lacked pace. I was left cold by the two fight scenes I saw. There was a large cast of varied characters, but none of them really came to life; they weren’t even one-dimensional, because you could only work out what one-dimension they were supposed to have when it was mentioned explicitly in the script. There were prostitutes who were too nervous to act whorish; and a zombie which came on, strolled across stage for no discernible reason (comic effect? Really?), and was never seen again. Just as importantly is how the actors acted when they weren’t actively acting (to put it in the most Rumsfelidan way possible), e.g. how convincingly the cast faked conversations background without just shouting ‘rhubarb’, and here again my disbelief remained firmly unsuspended.

As a saving grace, those of you who want to see it presumably like Pratchett, and presumably therefore already know the plot. The book itself might not be Mort, but it’s still brilliant, witty and full of references to everything from Rembrandt to Les Miserables. Occasionally some of this wit shines through, as with a wonderfully quirky speech on ‘L-Space’, a reference to the ‘H-Space’ or ‘hyperspace’ common in more traditional works of science fiction – except created exclusively by libraries.

These instances were the exception though. Half way through the review I got bored and stopped writing. I suspect you’ll do something similar.

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