unseen theatre company: thief of time

thief of time by the unseen theatre company
Thief of Time is our third visit to The Bakehouse Theatre for a play by the Unseen Theatre Company.

The book the play is based on is one of my favourite Discworld novels and one that is very, very grand in scope and I was curious to see how they would pull off some of the more exotic elements.

The plot is incredibly complicated, but generally it involves the History Monks, specifically their most venerable sweeper and his apprentice, a clockmaker trying to fashion a clock that ticks in time with the Universe assisted by an Igor, the Auditors (who show up in more and more Pratchett stories) and one of my favourite characters, Death's granddaughter, Susan... as well as Death himself trying to get the old band (of horseman) back together.

I will say that the play really could have done with a real life narrator on stage. I understand (from the program... she was a founding member of the company, and was in town for a limited period of time) why the narrator is pre-recorded and projected onto the screen at the back of the stage. The fact that the sound for the narrator wasn't the best in terms of volume didn't really help, plus the fact that it didn't really help to distract from the stagehands setting up for the next scene like I think a live narrator would have (and which worked successfully in Reaper Man). Plus I kept getting distracted with her eyes flicking off to the side where I'm guessing her cue cards were for the video.

The projected elements are the least successful part of the play to be honest. It works okay in place of sets for the most part, but given that it was being projected onto a curtain rather than a stretched screen or a bare wall (again, as happened during Reaper Man) meant it didn't work as well as it could have.

However the negatives were outweighed by the great performances from the cast, who, as in previous plays, put their proverbial heart and soul into it.

There are three major shout-outs... firstly Lewis Baker as both Igor and the Horseman Pestilence. He absolutely stole every single scene he is in as Igor with the crazy wig, ripped pants and sibilant s's. Seriously he needs to be the Igor in anything Unseen does from here on out. I also loved him as a surgical scrubs wearing Pestilence... not least of all because medical is a very good look for him.

Hugh O'Connor also gets props for the third time running as Discworld's anthropomorphic personification of Death. Yes, he has the occasional bit of trouble with the hood (somebody needs to attach it to the skull mask with some double sided tape or something) and the robe, but you forget all that when O'Connor's big booming voice emerges from inside the skull head.

And partly because she's one of my favourite inhabitants of the Discworld, Amelia Lorien gets a mention for her portrayal as Susan. Partly for the accent, partly for the wig, but mostly for giving Susan's Death voice a damn good go.

I also have to mention Daniel McInnes, who was great in Reaper Man, and returns with two small(ish) roles as a ninja and as War, all World War I muttonchops and blustery voice to match. I have a feeling that McInnes could make an excellent Moist von Lipwig... at the very least, it'd be nice to see him in a larger role within the Discworld.

And anyone who works as hard as Leighton James, playing two major characters in the same play, definitely deserves some love. Especially playing characters who are completely different, but then again, not.

Oh and Samuel Creighton as the highly camp Famine made me laugh on more than one occasion.

The rest of the cast did a great job as well, and on the whole they got the balance of Pratchett's humour exactly right.

So while it wasn't without it's hiccups here and there, overall it was a very enjoyable night out.

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