Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Men at Arms play review

Disclosure: I do actually personally know the director and some of the actors of the play

For an amateur production, it's hard to imagine that most, if not all, of the actors have day jobs that have nothing to do with acting or drama.

Done on low budget, this play was actually quite impressive with its mechanical talking gargoyles, interesting props and imaginative use of sound effects.

It's usually hard to enjoy a real life production of a well-loved book with characters that have already been firmly established in one's imagination, but Men at Arms mostly succeeds in its casting. Certain characters were not dark and sinister enough, while some came across as merely repeating lines, but overall, the spirit of Discworld manages to seep through and one could actually imagine the characters looking like the actors.

Most delightful to watch were the bumbling Nobby, a brief cameo from Death and a topless Captain Vimes singing his heart out. Special mention needed to be made of the actor who played the sadly murdered Beano as well as countless other characters, who successfully managed to make each one slightly different and most certainly unique.

The use of the various stage entrance and exits were clever, as were the various sound effects. The costuming was perfect, especially for the troll, and one actually felt they were seeing real Discworld characters. The props were so well done, a real life pie fight complete with real whip cream was amazingly successfully pulled off.

Unfortunately, somewhat disconcerting for the production was the fact that lines were often obviously forgotten (then again, as mentioned, being in plays were not the actors' main profession) , actors sometimes struggled to find their place on stage (which meant spotlighting sometimes failed) and sound effects were occasionally mistimed.

However, for a mere $21, Men at Arms was real value for money and a great evening entertainment.

I would watch another play by the director, and not only because I know her.

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