unseen theatre company: the truth

It's been a year since we last returned to the Discworld with the Unseen Theatre Company, and this time it's back to Ankh-Morpork and the creature of the Disc's first newspaper with The Truth.

Hugh O'Connor, usually hidden behind the grinning skull of the anthropomorphic personification of Death in Unseen productions, steps up as William de Worde, the unlikely and, as is often the case in Pratchett's work, somewhat unwilling hero of the piece. I especially enjoyed his (some would say childish, I would say very funny) choices towards the end of the play, when he's coming up against the unstoppable force that is Sam Vines (played once again by Mike Shaw).

I did notice that they condensed a lot of the first part of the book down to essentially "man runs into dwarf in the middle of the street, accidentally creates first newspaper"... which is essentially accurate, but definitely one of those moments when a knowledge of the source material comes in handy. But while many of the details are condensed, the rest of the play remains fairly faithful to the original.

Stealing every scene they were in... in order of stealingness... were Danny Sag (last seen as the Patrician in Feet of Clay) was absolutely hilarious as Otto Chriek, the tea-totalling vampire photographer (sorry, iconographer) who joins the newspaper. Everything Sag does as Otto is fantastic and he's clearly very comfortable both with the accent and just with being present on stage as well.

Next up would be Aimee Ford as Gaspode, the "clearly that dog didn't just speak because dogs definitely can't talk" talking dog. Ford has been great in all her Unseen roles and she briefly reprices Corporal Nobby Nobbs, but her timing and attitude are perfect for Gaspode. Bonus shout-out to David Dyte as Foul Ole Ron for his accompanying cried of "Millennium Hand and Shrimp" and "Bugrit".

Last but by no means least are Nick Andrews and Paul Messenger as Mr Pin and Mr Tulip respectively. The characters have more than a little Pulp Fiction/Reservoir Dogs DNA in them, and Andrews and Messenger play this up beautifully.

Natalie Haigh, Leighton James and Alycia Rabig (in dual roles taking over as Corporal Angua of the Watch, and Boddony the very blonde dwarf) fill out the staff of the newspaper, and do a great job.

The set is the more "complex" version from the last show with the two raised platforms and the doors and works fairly well here (although the doors really don't get a lot of use), I will say that there's perhaps a little too much removing and replacing of the main table and printing press towards the end of the show when things need to take place in other locations which slows things down a little.

Also, given that this was opening night, there were only a few stumbles with lines and the like which is totally understandable.

It's perhaps not the most... exciting or visual of all of Pratchett's work, but they've managed to make it into a decent night of theatre.

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