I knew that as a writer he was witty and clever with an endlessly inventive storyteller’s imagination. I knew that he had millions of fans. I live in a town that is “twinned” with his fictional city of Ankh Morpork and has a Discworld Emporium with always-interesting window displays, which hosts regular “twinning” events bringing hundreds of colourfully dressed characters to our streets (and benefits our local economy).
But on stage, the adaptations of his books didn’t come alive, missing the spark of the original, with their countless and diverse characters, while the fast-paced scene changes have obliterated any narrative flow.
I came to the reluctant conclusion that you would only enjoy the Pratchett books on stage if you were already a devoted fan.
But, finally, wow, it can work! Congratulations to Studio Theatre’s director of productions Chris Hawley for an adaptation, approved by Sir Terry, that captures the wit and pace of the book.
This production of Making Money, also directed by Chris Hawley, is a delight, full of marvellous performances, a pacy retelling of the complex and satirical story, exciting and often laugh-out-loud funny.
It is long (about three hours including the interval), but the time flies by.
Making Money takes everything you think you know about banking and makes it horribly, believably hilarious, while continuing the ongoing saga of Discworld and the varied peoples of Ankh Morpork, under the benevolent eye of their dictator Lord Vetinari (Anthony von Roretz).
The (anti)-hero of our story is Moist van Lipwig and it would be hard to imagine anyone more suited to the part than the gangling, arm-whirling Stew Taylor with his wicked grin and boundless energy.
In this vast cast, it is perhaps unfair to single out a few performances, but Alistair Faulkner is brilliant as the lugubrious senior bank clerk Mr Bent (think Ministry of Silly Walks) – and without wishing to spoil it for those who don’t know the story, his finale transformation is a dream.
James Bradwell, in his first villain as the unspeakable Cosmo Lavish, is really creepy; Phil Hunter is delightfully deadpan as the golem Gladys; and Teddy Woolgrove is suitably wired as the eccentric economist-scientist Hubert.
Congratulations too on the clever, versatile set design and the choice of music, Hot Club with hints of Shostakovich. Many in the audience were commenting on how good it was.
The production runs to 1st March – beg, borrow or steal a ticket if you can get to Ashley Road.