By Peter Maddern
In the mysterious and mixed up existence of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, this production of Small Gods by the Unseen Theatre Company seems more than apt – as the old becomes new, so the old leaves us, new join with the old to create something but what does it all mean? Let me try to explain.
Small Gods is an early novel of Pratchett’s and the first that director and producer Pamela Munt came across and also the one that set her passions alight for the man’s work. Sadly though, after a long illness Sir Terry died earlier this year but in keeping with Unseen’s mantra new actors have joined old stagers in a play that, as per usual, takes some time to unravel.
Pretty much, Small Gods challenges our assumptions about the role of religion and philosophy and questions just exactly where do good and evil reside.
The play follows the travels of Novice Brutha (Timothy Tedmanson) as he falls under the spell of Deacon Vorbis (Adeodatus McCormack) before having his world challenged in Ephebia by a blind philosopher with a lantern (Tony Cockington) and sorting it all out in a long desert trek home guided by the Great God Om (Alvcia Rabig.)
Tedmanson does an excellent job for one so young, mixing adroitly the twin powers of innocence and strength of purpose. McCormack is most dastardly in his robes and Rabig’s Great God is a pleasure darting between spiritual existence as a heavenly queen and her earthly manifestation as a tortoise.
As always, Munt’s working of the book and direction keeps the story flowing, never leaving her audience to ponder for long any of the long bows of logic or pointed barbs embedded in the script; not bad for a show that runs nearly two hours.
Michelle Whichello’s costume work also needs some recognition with praise (from me at least) for decking out Vorbis and his henchmen as facsimile copies of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition team, including, did I think I noticed, Cardinal Biggles in one of the scenes. Note must also be made of High O’Connor who again appeared, as it seems he always does, as DEATH – well done for sitting around til 10pm to have your five lines in the sun.
Always a delight for Pratchett fans and good fun for those who aren’t with Tedmanson a name worth noting for the future.
Kryztoff Rating 4K