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Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company         “Wyrd Sisters”

Director:   Karina Bygate

Boxmoor Playhouse       25th May 2012

The beauty of this play was that, once again, I had no idea what to expect.  Terry Pratchett’s work is a little weird anyway, and I thought it might be a little too off the wall, but in fact the way Karina chose to set it made it believable in a strange way and extremely funny.

The set was very good – the way everything was movable by the cast to create another scene meant that everything was linked and there were no gaps where the audience could lose concentration or momentum.  I liked the fact that the cast piled in from the back of the theatre whilst singing, thus creating the ethos of strolling players, and then used the song as the musical accompaniment to the scene changes.

The apron was used well by the three witches and the trapdoor allowed a lot of different elements, including the Demon coming up into the cauldron.

I thought the lighting was excellent – the effects created around the trapdoor and the cauldron and other items on the apron, were all good, and I liked the fade into black and white for the scene changes – it made the stage look rather ghostly, which suited the feel of the piece.

The storm was very good – and the fact that the cast managed the sound effects was interesting, and worked well.

There were a few highlights, in what was a good all round production – I loved Verence’s fall down the stairs, totally unexpected and very funny; Death collecting the bodies after they’d been killed, exactly right.  The horse and cart was well-constructed and used, I’m not entirely sure whether or not Hwel was supposed to fall off the back of it, but whatever, it was nicely done!!

The three witches were well-matched – but Maggie Harvey as Granny Weatherwax was the most commanding in her portrayal, whilst Marilyn Taylor was her match as Nanny Ogg, delightfully up front and slightly vulgar, with Nerinne Truman, as the new and rather naive recruit Magrat Garlick.  This trio interacted well together, and the characters were very different, which created natural dimensions within the group, which made them both interesting and intriguing.  

Dave Simmonds always gives us nicely observed characters, his late King was very good, as were his soldier and guard – there were some good and differing comic performances for each part.

Paul Passi as Leonal Felmet and Mariam Gaballa as Lady Felmet were well-matched, a nice comic pairing of the feeble male and the overbearing female.  Paul was also able to give some nicely rounded Shakespeare quotes, as were some of the other members of the cast.

Lewis Dowling acted the Fool very well, and I liked his scenes with Magrat – they bounced off each other and created a very charming relationship.  Lewis is very athletic, making all the falls look easy and amusing.

Sherief Hassan created several strong characters – including Death and a good Vitoller with Mariam as his wife.  Again the pairing worked really well.

I really liked Marlon Gill as Hwel, and all the other characters he played – the force and understanding Marlon injects into his portrayals makes well-rounded characterisations, which again created contrasts with the other characters.  

Stewart Fairthorne created some good comedic characters, before morphing into Tomjon the heir to the throne – I liked what he did with each part, his Soldier was particularly funny.

I was very impressed once again by the high standard of work HHTC present to their audience, one which gave lots of opportunities both dramatic and comedic for all the cast, who took advantage of all the nuances to good effect.  So, another good production from HHTC – which we, the audience, enjoyed and appreciated.

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company

WYRD SISTERS”  review date: 25H May 2012

Boxmoor Playhouse

Director:  Karina Bygate


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