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.