Maskerade – Adelaide Theatre Guide review

Reviewer: Stephanie Johnson _ Adelaide Theatre Guide
First published in: Adelaide Theatre Guide

Adelaide Theatre Guide

Maskerade – Unseen Theatre Company

“Maskerade” is the 22nd novel in the weird and wacky Discworld series from popular and prolific British author Terry Pratchett.
Pratchett has written many novels and won major awards for his science fiction/fantasy series. And then there are the plays  – the adaptations of the novels by Stephen Briggs. It’s no wonder that Pratchett aficciaonados have gained momentum, showing signs of the same zeal that colours other enthusiasts such as Star Trek and Lord of the Rings Fans.

Unseen Theatre Company has exposed itself to the enthusiasm of such fans, as well as the criticism with its latest production of “Maskerade”, directed by Erik Strauts.

Pratchett devotees seem to know the characters of Discworld almost as well as their own family and can quote lines from each and every story. Intermission conversation is filled with critiques of Discworld’s infamous characters and which parts of the story have been left in or out in the particular production. It is whole new world for this reviewer and a fascinating one.

Unseeen’s production of “Maskerade” is fun filled and enjoyable. As someone new to the world of Pratchett the story sometimes needed more translation. It was difficult, at times, keeping up with who was who. “In'” jokes were puzzling. At the same time, the characters and the story line were both fresh and enchanting opening a whole new, fantasy-filled world.

“Maskerade” is the soty of a mysterious ghost in the Opera House of Ankh Morpork, but its mystery involves the well known Discwold witches Granny Weatherwax (Pamela Munt) and Nanny Ogg (Tracey Watchman).

The tale begins as young Lancre country girl Agnes Nitt (Nicole Seal) has had enough of life with the chickens and cows and decides to find her luck in the big smoke. She changes her name to Perdita X and auditions for the Ankh Morpork Opera. Here she meets an array of colourful characters, encounters the mysterious ghost of the opera  house and is soon joined by fellow Lancre inhabitants Granny and Nanny.

“Maskerade” is filled with plenty of buffoonery, numerous allusions to the famous Lloyd Webber “Phantom of the Opera” and plenty of pertinent pokes at the snobbery of opera.

Pamela Munt, as Granny Weatherwax, and Tracey Watchman as Nanny Ogg, are the delightful key players. Watchman has ably captured a sense of mischief and warmth in the character of Nanny Ogg, while Munt  portrays the power and wisdom of Granny Weatherwax. Both characters are eminently flawed and yet eminently likeable.

Sam Priestly also shone as Salzella, who delivers much of the satirical humour of the night. Priestly delivered his lines with finesse and he has some great ones. Nicole Seal was commanding as the young Agnes Nitt, very strident and angry as a girl trying to escape her country origins.

Bryan Ormond as Enrico Basilica, Nik Hargreaves as Seldom Bucket, and Danielle Seal as Underschaft all protrayed their characters with warmth, fun and skill.

The set was innovative and worked well for such a fast-moving play.

All in all it was a great introduction to the world of Granny and Nanny and the ghost of the opera.
Stephanie Johnson