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WOSSNAME -- DECEMBER 2003 -- PART 2 OF 3 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME -- DECEMBER 2003 -- PART 2 OF 3 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2003
      WOSSNAME -- DECEMBER 2003 -- PART 2 OF 3 (continued)


      To the Editor:

      Sybil should be played by Lynn Redgrave.I imagine Vimes to
      be broader than Viggo. Russell Crowe perhaps?

      The Duwamish river does resemble the Ankh from time to time.

      -- Fred from Seattle


      6) GUARDS! GUARDS!

      To the Editor:

      I, too, went and saw the Sydney production of Guards! Guards!, on the
      Saturday night (I later learnt they added a matinee that afternoon due to
      the high demand). For experimental purposes, I also took with me a companion
      whose experience of Discworld is limited to half of Soul Music.

      A quick warning: This review may contain some spoilers to the novel, so if
      you're one of the very few who haven't read it then I'd suggest putting this
      aside for a while and taking some time to have a look.

      I had some high expectations for this production, which is possibly where I
      was let down. It really was a good show, it just wasn't quite what I'd hoped
      for, and that's not really being fair on Thee More Pork Players, given that
      this is their first show and they make no pretensions of being the Bell
      Shakespeare Company.

      The stand-out performers were Steve Bilkey as Vimes, Miles Thomas as The
      Librarian, and Jeff Forrest as CMOT Dibbler. Vimes had just the right amount
      of swagger (alcoholic when drunk, confident when not), and really carried
      the story, while the other two only had secondary roles, but played them so
      smoothly one almost felt they were channelling the characters directly.

      As far as humour was concerned, there was plenty to laugh about. And quite a
      bit to laugh at. Unfortunately, IMTAO there were a few too many moments
      played for quick laughs, including some which were apparently so funny that
      even the actors couldn't help laughing. Bilkey was quite good at controlling
      his mirth, but Giles Hardie as the Grand Supreme Master was doing everything
      he could not to burst out in laughter, quite a problem since he was supposed
      to be growling at the incompetent Brethren and telling the audience his
      nefarious schemes.

      Hardie also played the role of Sybil Ramkin, a good casting call in light of
      the fact that the only female in the cast was playing Nobby, but not so good
      because it turned all of the scenes between Vimes and Sybil into something
      reminiscent of a Carry On film. I was hoping for at least a hint of genuine
      romance, but it was more cheap laughs all the way through. i was a bit more
      forgiving with the scene in which the Supreme Grand Master ran out past the
      audience, and less than a minute later Lady Ramkin appeared on stage, and
      felt that was worthy of the applause he was given, but was disappointed
      again with the "Sir! Are you wearing lipstick?" line to which Lupine Wonse
      replied in Ramkin voice.

      OK, so I lied. There was one other excellent performance, or possibly even
      performances - Erroll. Erroll was played by an adorable hand puppet that
      looked like he was straight out of the Pratchett Portfolio, and was operated
      by whoever was holding him (and, in the case of the final "fight" scene,
      there was also one that was suspended on a wire, but I'm not sure whether
      there were two puppets or not. Erroll had a personality all his own, which
      shone through whether he was being fussed over by Lady Ramkin, or stroked or
      used as a weapon by Vimes - in fact, when Vimes aimed Erroll at the
      intruders to the Ramkin manor, even though you could see his arm stuck up
      the rear end of a dragon, it looked like something out of a movie but with a
      dragon in place of a gun.

      Now, onto some of the things that didn't sit so right with me. First was
      Kat'rina Bartlett, as Brother Dunnikin and Corporal Nobbs, possibly among
      others. She had a great semi-Cockney accent, which was unfortunately backed
      up by a slightly whiny voice and very little resemblance to the real
      Corporal Nobbs. At the very least they could have made her look a little
      more grubby and bumpy-looking on her face.

      There was just a tad too much exposition, mostly by Vimes, which got on my
      nerves a little and could probably have been justified if he actually pulled
      out the notebook that is mentioned several times in the novel. Also, despite
      the program crediting Stephen Briggs with the adaptation, they seemed to be
      stretching his "scene changes longer than 10 seconds will lose the audience"
      to its absolute limit, and the Footnote character which I believe was in his
      version did not appear, and instead important background information (and in
      one case, information which the characters then repeated almost verbatim)
      was supplied by a "voice of God" system where the lights dimmed, characters
      froze, and said voice (who was also the voice of the dragon) would ramble on
      for a bit.

      Since the dragon couldn't very well appear on stage, they used some very
      good tricks to create the impression of it. Red and yellow lighting, as well
      as two jets of smoke when it was on the throne, created a very impressive
      effect. Unfortunately, the sound they used for its appearance (which was
      probably a piece of leather rubbed against something) sounded to me like a
      legion of troops marching in step, which confused me at first and irritated
      me later.

      Matt Gaskin (who with a name like that should have been one of the Brethren)
      played Vetinari, and was quite good as the manipulative leader dressed in
      black who was apparently in charge of it all. Except (and once again this is
      probably more due to my expectations of Vetinari rather than a failing on
      Gaskin's part), he seemed maybe a little too evil, a little too camp, and
      not quite as sexy as my impression (ok, not quite sexy, but with that kind
      of mysterious aura that is at least attractive).

      Pascal Rüeger, as Carrot, was passable, and certainly had most of the
      required attributes - tall, kind of dopey look, orange hair, innocent
      expression. In fact, he was very good and I can't think why I didn't like
      his performance except for another "but that's not how I think of him"
      feeling. His expositions, in the form of recorded tracks played as he read
      over the letters he wrote home, worked very well to recap various points in
      the story, provide some good laughs, and move other parts of the plot along.

      I suppose this review is more filled with things I didn't like about the
      play than things I did, but actually overall it was a very enjoyable
      experience, and I certainly look forward to future productions. Even though
      it wasn't quite what I was hoping, they did a good job of, as they put it,
      paying homage to PTerry in the form of a retelling, and the companion I took
      along had a wonderful time, and in fact probably enjoyed the play even more
      than I did (helped by having no preconceptions).

      Best of luck to Thee More Pork Players in future endeavours, and may their
      next Pratchett play be even better than this one.

      -- ConMan

      To the Editor:

      Conman, I have to know...did they do the full 'million to one
      chance' bit? I saw Guards! Guards! a couple of years back and was
      dissapointed that they missed that bit out.
      I remember that Vetinari was played just as I expected him to be,
      and the actor looked just how I expected V to look.
      We had the special effects for the dragon too, but at one point...I
      believe it was just before the interval we did get a huge dragon's
      foot on the stage.

      Yep! I'm still around,

      -- Anne
      PKO and Vampire
      Founder of BURA


      To the Editor:

      Funny. Irreverent. Historical hysterical.
      None of this adequately describes Terry's Night Watch.
      The reader is treated to a view of Sam Vimes that goes
      beyond anything Terry has attempted with his main
      characters - further than Granny Weatherwax and her
      sister, further than Angua and her brother, even further
      than Nobby and his, well . . . is there anything related
      to Nobby? I mean, really?

      Vimes the present and Vimes the past. Lessons to be
      learned from the master, lessons to be learned by the
      student. Lessons to be learned by the master from the student.
      (And yes, Nobby had a father -- this we are sure of now --
      in prison during that era. Thank goodness we don't have to
      meet him! Can you imagine? Things that make you go

      Les Miserables meets Time Cop. From the barricade to the
      paradoxical changes in history that somehow resolve themselves,
      from the sentimentality of the flowers (especially when worn by
      the Patrician) to the graveside vigil by Reg (well, not graveside
      exactly), the reader is shown how a small patch of time can
      have so many meanings, so many life altering experiences in it ...
      but we move too quickly and pay too little attention.

      I (sadly) finished the book. (Actually, I hate to start his books
      because I know they have to end. Maybe we can have
      Leonard of Quirm look into a solution to this.) I found myself
      reminiscing, thinking back to times when I should have done
      something, could have done something (or, more importantly,
      shouldn't have done something) - and have discovered that
      now is the time to look at what I should be doing, what I could
      be doing (and especially, what I shouldn't be doing).

      I thank Terry for his books, his humor and poignancy. I especially
      applaud Night Watch but with both hands clapping. As much as I
      have enjoyed his books, and I have liked most of them, loved the
      rest - this one, Night Watch, is the most profound and will, probably,
      remain my favorite.

      -- Abbot Christopher
      Currently on my 4th reincarnation (Wannabikit!)

      8) BOOK REVIEW

      REVIEW: CORALINE by Neil Gaiman

      HarperCollins Publishers,
      New York, 2002, 163 pp. 5-5/8x8-3/8 inches
      Price: $15.99 ($11.19 via Amazon) hardcover
      Price: $5.99 paperback
      Price: GBP 9.99 (7.99 via Amazon) hardcover
      Price: GBP 5.99 (4.79 via Amazon) paperback

      This book will send a shiver down your spine, out
      through your shoes, and into a taxi to the airport.
      It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales,
      and it is a masterpiece. And you will never think
      about buttons in quite the same way again.

      Reviewer: Terry Pratchett

      Comments: I just got this book for Christmas and it
      is a gem. Another reviewer was Dianne Wynne Jones,
      who said: "It is the most splendidly original, weird,
      and frightening book I have read..."

      It's as much for adults as it is for children, maybe more

      Highly recommended!

      -- Joe Schaumburger
      If you did not get all 3 parts, write: jschaum111@...
      End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 3

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