Review of Carpe Jugulum by Brian Godfrey

Reviewer: Brian Godfrey
First published in: Adelaide Theatre Guide

Unseen Theatre Company
Bakehouse Theatre
Until 19 Jul 2008

Review by Brian Godfrey

Stephen Briggs’s stage adaptations of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’ novels appeal (as the books do) to a specific audience. The plays tend to be over-long and complicated. “Carpe Jugulum” seems to overcome this.

With some judicious “slashing” of the script on director Pamela Munt’s part the show is shorter; has a cleaner, leaner storyline and becomes more of a Horror parody. True aficionados of Mr Pratchett’s work, however, may take umbrage at this – the opening night audience of this production did not.

Fear not – the darker side and concepts of theology, good versus evil and modern trends versus old traditions still remain in this ‘witches versus vampires’ tale. But, if Munt can throw any gag at the Horror genre, she does. The allusion to “The Rocky Horror Show” by having The Expert (Bek Rimington) appear in a bookcase enclosed area was very subtle: the cast performing the “Time Warp” was not.

Another clever touch was a chandelier composed of what appeared to be sleeping bats; and a big hand for the unusual, fun curtain call.

Most of the cast don’t always see the humour or allusion in what they are saying, but overall are fairly strong.

Batting for the witches, Laraine Ball has a ball as Nanny Ogg (and so did the opening night audience), while Pamela Munt gives depth and strength to Granny Weatherwax. This lady has come of age as an actor; we just need to see more of her face. As Perdita, Suzanna Klarin can be this reviewer’s alter ego any day.

Of the four vampires, Michael Coumi (Vlad DeMagpyre) and Sarika Young (Lacrimosa DeMagpyre) are very convincing. Coumi could have just stepped straight from Roman Polanski’s “The Fearless Vampyre Killers”.

Philip Lineton thealth the thow as the lithping (sorry, lisping) factotum Igor – the Marty Feldman bowler hat is a nice touch. As The Mightily Reverend Oats, Peter Fry looks more pious than the Pope, but needs to be more drippy and nervous than mundane.

This “Carpe Jugulum” doesn’t quite ‘seize the throat’, but it should loosen most people’s larynxes, and maybe convert a few to the World of the Disc.