Review of Night Watch by Andy Ahrens

Reviewer: Andy Ahrens
First published in: Adelaide Theatre Guide

Unseen Theatre Company, who specialises in Terry Pratchett, was fortunate enough to be given the script for this play prior to being published. Subsequently, what an opportunity to see an Australian premiere from Pratchett, who Director Pamela Munt says is the world’s best selling author alive today.

Love them or hate them, Pratchett plays have a lot going for them and Night Watch is no exception. Night watch is a fun explosive play, full of wit. The clever script along with Munt’s direction makes the play fast paced and easy to follow. Without being exceptional, Unseen has given the play sound beginnings and any cult-following Pratchett fan shouldn’t be disappointed.

The star of the show without doubt was Steven Parker playing the leading role of Commander Samuel Vimes. With his no-nonsense approach to the role, masterful timing and excellent voice control, Parker glided through the mishaps and adventures of Commander Vimes. I think he’s a natural. He made the very demanding role look easy and he could have a big future on stage ahead of him. Parker was supported by an ensemble of energetic players who all showed the ability to capture an audience. Some players were weaker than others, but Unseen holds no regrets in nurturing and providing experience for their young actors.

This style of theatre is what world renowned director Peter Brook calls ‘rough’ theatre. It’s dingy, it’s raw, the floor creaks but it encompasses all the magic that any theatrical production has to offer. We see the theatre itself transformed into the set, and with minimal furniture you are naturally drawn into the imagination of the world. A good example was a box, a chair and a flag used to represent a barricade – Les Misérables eat your heart out! Why this theatre works so well is, as Unseen have done, given it all they’ve got with no punches spared. And you have to admire that.