Review of ERIC by Nicola Woolford

Reviewer: Nicola Woolford
First published in: Glam Adelaide
Date of review: 7 October 2018

Tongue in cheek representations of Hell and the classic Faustian deal abound in the Unseen Theatre Company’s latest Terry Pratchett adaptation, Eric. The Bakehouse Theatre foyer is flooded with red lights and decorated with demonic motivational posters, such as “The beatings will not continue until morale improves”. This perfectly sets the mood for the devilish adventures to come.

Our hero of the evening is the titular Eric, portrayed by a winningly naïve Sam Tutty. Eric is a 13-year-old aspiring demonologist, who makes a critical error when trying to summon an all-powerful, wish-granting demon from the depths of Hell. Instead Eric calls Rincewind, portrayed by the charismatic Chris Irving, and one of the most notoriously ineffectual wizards to roam all of Pratchett’s Discworld. Undeterred by his mistake, Eric insists on receiving his three wishes: to be the ruler of the world and receive tribute, to meet the most beautiful woman ever born, and to live forever. Bewildered and unaware of the demonic power and politics at work, Rincewind and Eric embark on a journey through time and space to grant his wishes.

The chemistry between Irving and Tutty is perfect, at times fostering a touching mentor and protégé relationship, at others a negligent nanny and spoilt child. Their comedic timing and range is on point.

As our two main characters carry the story forward, Eric boasts a talented cast of supporting players who undertake multiple roles. These include Alycia Rabig, Paul Messenger, Aimee Ford, Danny Sag, Harold Roberts, Hugh O’Connor, and David Dyte. Whether portraying a foul-mouthed Parrot familiar, the Demon King, the pacifist Captain Lavaeolus, or Death, these actors are commendable and often hilarious.

The sets are somewhat Spartan in Eric, with few props and minimal (yet well fabricated) set design. This forces the actors to deliver a very kinetic performance. They utilise the space on-stage well, creating each scene through their movements and reactions. The blood-red lighting during the Hell scenes added a perfect demonic ambiance.

As usual, Adelaide-local Pamela Munt acts as both adaptor and director. She brings Terry Practchett’s singular Eric to life, with the help of her talented troupe. Any fantasy fan will be well pleased.