South Holland Centre, Spalding, October 17 2015
Two years before J.K. Rowling set the literary world alight with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997), the late Sir Terry Pratchett released the 18th instalment of his Discworld series, Maskerade.
The ever-ambitious Act II Theatre Company set its drama group the task of bringing Pratchett’s reworking of The Phantom of the Opera to theatre audiences at Spalding’s South Holland Centre.
Directed by Karl Gernert, the drama saw two witches, Granny Weatherwax (Lizzie Taylor) and Nanny Ogg (Kelly Sawyer) travel to the fictional land of Ankh-Morpork in search of Agnes Nitt (Hayley Guest) to join their coven.
What unfolds is a murder mystery as a sinister Opera Ghost (Morgan Agate) does its best to ruin a performance at the opera house.
The production turned into an epic, two-hour, 40-minute marathon with catchphrases like ‘It’s all about the music’, “the show must go on”, and ‘if your house is on fire, what’s the first thing you would take out?’
Kelly’s remarkable turn as Nanny Ogg, plus steal-the-scene turns from Lily Bergin (Sgt Detritus) and Summer Milnes (Corporal Nobbs), added to reliable performances by Morgan, Hayley and the precocious Alex Gilman (Greebo).
But if Pratchett’s fantasy Discworld is not your cup of tea, Maskerade may have left you wondering if the author himself was right when he said “the wrong thing to do has to be the right thing to do”.
Review by Winston Brown