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Live! - Culture


Dec 05 2003 09:21
Simon Rawson
Phantom of the Opera meets the Witches of Eastwick in DramSoc's Terry Pratchett play.
The Cast of Maskerade

Tackling something as well known and complex as a Terry Pratchett Discworld play was an ambitious move by DramSoc, to say the least. Several seemingly disparate plot threads run simultaneously and weave in and out of each other in a sporadic fashion and most, if not all of the action is a little surreal, the play being well and truly set in a fantasy world.

The Phantom of the Opera meets the Witches of Eastwick in this complicated story, where a cheese-maker, who has bought an Opera house, finds that it is haunted by a ghost who is blighting their success, while two witches who go in search of forgotten royalties on a cookery book, end up hunting down the ghost in the Opera house.

The play has an entertaining script with a good combination of one liners and dry satire, which the production generally capitalised on.

Notable performances came from Matthew Wallace (Seldom Bucket, Opera House Owner) and Radha Gadhok (Nanny Ogg, a witch), not least for their ability to hold weird and wonderful accents throughout the play, convincingly and with humour. Wallace in particular held the stage with his dynamic facial expressions and comic delivery ? a delight to watch.

DramSoc have been waiting some time to produce a piece as big as Pratchett, and technically they acquitted themselves well. Certain scenes, notably the underground layer with gondola, were very impressive and convincing, but it is possible that they took things a little far using their ?flying wall with doors? in what seemed like every possible scene. It was nice, though, to see the Concert Hall stage being used to its full potential with fly-bars and trapdoors all in use for the first time in years.

Maskerade runs until Saturday 6th December 2003 at 7.30pm each evening in the Union Concert Hall. Tickets available on the door priced £4.50 / £6.

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Discussion about “"Maskerade"”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. Nia   
Dec 06 2003 17:21

I was asked for my comments so: Mr Pratchett's wit was communicated well and I was entertained by a twisty story about some interesting characters. I enjoyed myself very much.

Highlights: The witches - surprisingly realistic stereotypes, The chandelier - an amateur and asymmetric attempt at glamour; perfect discworld, Agnes Nitt - a refreshingly straight character in a play full of eccentric stereotypes, The transformation in Walter Plinge when he puts on the mask, The death of rats.

Lowlights: The Doors (to echo Mr Rawson) - didn't add enough to the play to compensate for the fact they swung, were occasionally flown in for the wrong scenes and gave the actors problems in opening/shutting them properly.

What would have been lowlights with a more hostile audience: actors slipping out of character on quite a regular basis.

What did anybody else think?

Dec 06 2003 17:55

Well, that was fun. I enjoyed that. And before anyone can possibly comment I would be biased, you would be right. I had no involvement in this show, but even so i still thought it was good ;-)

I liked the way they dealt with the various different locations as Pratchet jumps from place to place. I actually thought the flying wall was a useful bit of set, the only thing being it could have done with some indication as to where it represented each time.

I think the witches worked really well together, with a good degree of comic timing.

A pleasent way to spend the evening really, the amount of laughing by the rest of the audience indicates that the packed house enjoyed themselves too.

3. Steve   
Dec 06 2003 23:25

I personally liked the pairing of Salzella and Mr Bucket and the string of jokes about Opera.

It was quite a challenging play as it jumped around quite a lot and a parculiar feeling knowing the plot and in many cases the jokes before hand - althoug this didn't detract much from the play

Dec 07 2003 06:52

I found the adaptation of the book to be somewhat lacking. Whether this was the result of a poor script from Stephen Briggs (Isn't he a childrens author from OUR primary school days?) or misunderstanding of the the relevence of certain jokes from the book by the Director and his team, is unknow to me. I was disapointed to see some spectacular jokes from book delivered badly, or not present at all, when the setup to them had been completed, however, this was slightly compensated for by hurerous adaptations that could only coem froma stage production.

I personaly thought that the use of the doors was justified everytime they were used, as they represent the locations as they should be at those points, but that woulds only be compleately aparent to anyone who had read the book.

I thought the acting was good, excpet for a part at the begining of the second half, when the cast started talking too fast to understand alot of what was being said.

The high point of the evening was the fatastic representation of the death of rats and his "SQUEAK".

All in all a fantatsic performance, but a little bit of thought about certain parts of the script would have yeailded even better results.

Dec 07 2003 06:56




Dec 08 2003 10:58

"...note the five exclamations marks? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head."

Ahem, speaking as someone unashamedly bias and involved in this masterpiece, I have to say that this was one of the most challenging and entertaining Dramsoc productions I've ever had the honour of being part of. People came from far and wide (3 made it from Wye) and left enthralled - here's a quote emailed to the Director from one of the audience who saw the last night:

" was a brilliant play and I loved every minute of it and I'm one of the die-hard perfectionist fans. Well done!"

I have just one complaint:



Dec 09 2003 09:29

Working? Hard? For all the students who aren't in Dramsoc?

Oh and not to rain on your parade but I really hate Terry Pratchett... That's why I would never consider going to Maskerade. I guess I'm not in the minority then...

Dec 09 2003 17:44

*dies of embarressment and poor spelling*

That's the last time I'm emailing anything to you lot!

Dec 11 2003 23:56

We at Dramsoc are currently presenting 'A Streetcar Named Desire' by Tennessee Williams at the moment in Huxley 308 (Doors open 7pm and Tickets are ?4/?5) More details can be found at

Jul 28 2004 06:12

I am trying to track down a copy of the "Maskerade" script, as a possible production for a community theatre. Can anyone help?

Jul 28 2004 21:28

All of the crew that ran maskarade are currently in Devon on tour. I'm sure if you call the storeroom when they return in a week or so, someone will be happy to help.

Closed This discussion is closed.

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