July 5-13: Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies – Roleystone Hall
ELVES may be cute and fun but nobody said they were good – a fact highlighted in Roleystone Theatre’s production of Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies, adapted by Irana Brown from the popular Discworld novel.
Directed by Bradley Towton at Roleystone Hall, the satirical comedy features dark fantasy elements and parodies many story threads from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Magrat Garlick is a young-ish witch who has to overcome her own feelings of inadequacy to face an oncoming occult invasion of elves.
The task is made harder because she was raised to believe elves were happy little fellows – but a witch has to do what she must to keep the people she loves safe, even if it ruins her wedding dress.
Dying of Alzheimer’s in early 2015, Pratchett was the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s, selling more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages.
“I previously directed Terry Pratchett’s Mort and it was an amazing experience because Pratchett’s subtle humour lent itself amazingly well to the stage,” Towton said.
“Mort was the first Pratchett book I ever read, so that was the show I wanted to start with – but when I realised how many people love watching Pratchett shows, I decided to put on another one.
“Lords and Ladies is exciting to experience because it turns so many pre-conceived cliches on their head with damsels saving kings, orangutans being the only sensible ones, wizards being useless and elves being bad.
“Having a cast full of people who are passionate about the source material is also delightful, as you can tell they just want to give Pratchett’s memory their best shot.”
Involved in theatre for the past 10 years, Towton studied performing arts at Curtin University and appeared in several Stage Door School shows before joining Roleystone Theatre to perform in Much Ado About Nothing, Avenue Q, Peter Pan and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
He has also appeared in Garrick Theatre productions of A Lady Mislaid, Project Macbeth and Love is a Noun and scored acting awards for his roles in She Was Only a Miller’s Daughter and Footrot Flats at Roleystone Theatre.
Lords and Ladies is now providing new challenges for Towton.
“We’re finding ourselves experimenting with a lot of assets, asking ‘How can we get away without a flamethrower?’ and ‘How can we make a man more than six foot look half his height?’” he said.
“Answering these sorts of questions has required us to really think outside the box, making it an interesting challenge, to say the least.”
With stage adaptations of Pratchett’s novels, Towton says the key is knowing what to cut and what to keep.
“We’re aware some of our favourite parts don’t quite translate well to the stage,” he said.
“To meet the expectations, we like to throw in tiny Easter eggs that we know only huge fans of Pratchett will catch.
“I am a true Pratchett fan, as are all my cast, so as long as I can keep us all happy with how the show is being created, I don’t doubt our audience will enjoy it, too.”
Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies plays at 7.30pm July 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 with 2pm matinees July 6 and 13. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book at www.roleystonetheatre.com.au.
Roleystone Hall is at 44 Jarrah Road (corner of Wygonda Road), Roleystone.
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