Review by Matthew Hocter
When going to the theatre, the unexpected, although casting an element of fear at times, is truly at the heart of what makes that outing whimsical and hopefully, memorable. That unexpected possibility of delving into another world, even if just for a couple of hours, is what brings about the child in all of us into unison with our very apparent adulthood. Now, when that piece of theatre has been derived from the likes of the late novelist Sir Terence Pratchett, you know that there will be so much more than just your standard tale of fantasy, after all, he was one of the greatest humanist’s and minds to have ever lived.
The Wyrd Sisters, the sixth novel from Pratchett’s Discworld series, and adapted into a play by Stephen Briggs, gets a fresh and comical remake, undertaken by the South Australian Unseen Theatre Company. Directed by Hugh O’Connor and David Dyte, the directors ensured that the actors were placed front and centre, with the minimalist sets and lighting forming whimsical backdrops. Minimalism doesn’t always work in theatre, especially when the theme has a heavy focus on elements like magic and fantasy, but much credit to the creators of this play, everything seemed to flow just right.
For those that are unfamiliar with the many Shakespearean references (One could almost call it an homage to Macbeth) throughout the play, fear not! This is a story that transcends those formalities and looks at the relationship and effect that words have on reality. The Wyrd Sisters, comprising of the razor sharp Granny Weatherwax (played by Pamela Munt), the naughty Nanny Ogg (played by the hilarious Natalie Haigh) and the innocent Magrat Garlick (played by Alycia Rabig) are at the centre of this play as the unwitting protectors of a baby (Tomjon) and a crown from the now murdered King Verence I of Lancre (played by Paul Messenger).
Like any Shakespearean play, twists and turns are in abundance and with Pratchett’s incredible eye, The Wyrd Sisters is a foray into everything from propaganda, relationships and time itself. With standout performances from Philip Lineton as Chamberain, Danny Sag as The Fool and the hilarious aforementioned Natalie Haigh as Nanny Ogg, this production was anything but amateur. Timing and a strong comedic element all aided in creating something truly magical and at its core, showing that things are not always as they seem, never more evident than in the words “History is what people are told.”
Unseen Theatre Company is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year and if this production is anything to go by, the next 21 years look brilliant. At the opening of the play, the three witches ask the question “When will we three meet again?” If this production is anything to go by, soon I hope, magic or not.