“FEET OF CLAY” is a Tale Of Political Manipulation, Murder, and Self-Realisation” – Broadway World
Feet of Clay, like all of the richly interwoven stories of Sir Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld, provides another thread of background to his fantasy world, whilst standing very ably on its own feet, whether of clay or otherwise. This is the first golem story, which leads on to the well-known stories, Going Postal and Making Money.
The tale explores what it means to be self-directed and, as such, is something to which everyone can relate. Cleverly, out of all of the Pratchett plays, this showed the hubble-bubble of humanity, with the grand total of only three or four actors managing to convince us that we were seeing and experiencing the seething life in the city of Ankh Morpork. The community of Guilds trying to direct political life to their advantage, the struggles and humour of a newly employed City Watch constable determined to be herself against all dwarf tradition, and the murders of four people, form the backdrop against the main story thread of the behind the scenes manipulation of political power.
Mike Shaw, as Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, is the main defender of the truth, playing the part with a suitably world-weary determination that has us believing that he really has spent years trying to whip many species into a functioning City Watch. His sergeant, “Nobby” Nobbs, who is caught up unwillingly in the politics, was beautifully portrayed by Aimee Ford, the character having the right balance of Chaplinesque humour and grossness to appeal to the audience. This is the first time Ford has appeared on the stage for Unseen, instead of behind the scenes, and makes the transition more than smoothly. Danny Sag, who, appropriately enough, is involved in running the Discworld fan group, City of Small Gods, in our world, played Lord Vetinari with restraint and suitably evil energy. The standout performance of the evening was Belinda Spangenberg as Dragon King of Arms, the ancient vampire trying to control all. She took command of the stage at each entry, and, although we didn’t see her change form, her countenance was only too believable. Alycia Rabig, as Corporal Cheery Littlebottom, also deserves a special mention, transforming from a gauche new recruit passionate about his/her (Ankh Morpork has more pronouns than dwarvish, you know) science, to a shyly public dwarf going against all tradition and thoroughly enjoying showing femininity.
Led, as always, by director, Pamela Munt, the passion and dedication that goes into Unseen Theatre Companies performances, is phenomenal and their plays, for Pratchett aficionados, are not to be missed. The energy is contagious, and the production design to produce such complicated story lines, to two act plays on a small stage, is lauded by their fans.
Michelle Whichello, with the help of Kahlia Tutty, who also was a suitably wolf-like Angua, produces quite wonderful costumes which help elevate the performance. Each actor plays a number of roles, requiring quick changes of costume as well as character. All in all, an enjoyable play, which draws you into the Unseen world with friendliness and charm.
Reviewed by Christine Pyman, Saturday 22nd October 2016