“All the Dysc it is but a Theatre,
Ane alle men and wymmen are but Players.
Except those who selle Popcorn.”
Reading a summary of the plot of ‘Wyrd Sisters’, you could be forgiven for thinking of it as nothing but a retelling of Macbeth – which, in some ways, it is. Those unfamiliar with the work of Terry Pratchett might find histone somewhat surprising, but entering into the spirit of eccentricity and fun is vital to enjoy Pratchett’s work.
One of the chief issues in translating any novel into another medium is elements from the narrative being lost. Pratchett was particularly famous for his descriptive style and liberal use of footnotes – usually for humorous effect. It is an achievement to be able to say that a production successfully captured the spirit of a work; and The Company managed this marvellously. Some of this is within the adaptation itself (by Stephen Briggs), but their sprinkling of original gags and satirical comments on current events, without it seeming forced, added enough originality to make their mark, without removing Pratchett’s style.
One of these strokes of originality was casting Ken Rowe to play Nanny Ogg – a move which seemed so natural, I was surprised that nobody had thought of it before. However the stand-out performances were from the scene-stealing Jamie Morgan as Magrat and Pip Mason as The Fool – although it must be said that Emma Portus had her work cut out portraying Granny Weatherwax. She communicated Granny’s character well, which is particularly difficult given that much of Granny’s character in the novel is shown through the narrative rather than dialogue. The cast were well-matched with their roles and did an admirable job, particularly with improvising to cover prop and set mishaps which go hand-in-hand with low-budget theatre.
The opening night was not without its minor teething problems – the sound in some cases drowned out the players, but was quickly fixed; and some of the actors took a few scenes to settle in to their roles, but provided all-round good performances. All in all, it was an enjoyable performance which clearly understood its source material. Pratchett fans will appreciate this whilst also serving as a great entry point for the uninitiated.
‘Wyrd Sisters’ was performed at Drama Studio 13th-16th June and shown at Dore Village Green on July 11th. For more information check out The Company’s website: https://www.thecompanysheffield.co.uk/productions/wyrdsisters/
Image Credit: The Company Sheffield