The English language never took quite the beating it did from the late, great Terry Pratchett. Father of the Discworld series, considered one of the pioneers of modern fantasy. Duck in a Hat Theatre drags us back into Discworld, this time for The Wyrd Sisters. Condensed into an hour and fifteen minutes, it is no mean feat. With murder, treachery, witchcraft, babies and love all thrown into the cauldron.
It’s a typical scene; three witches gather under the cloak of night. True to Pratchett these Witches are anything if ordinary. For one thing, they’re Northern. Within moments the script’s humour is apparant in its combination of Pratchett’s way with words combined with great performances. Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat encounter a troop of guards. Once dispatched it’s found they were hunting a baby, the son of the murdered King. Sending the child to live with Thespians (a cruel punishment) the sisters keep a watchful eye on the goings on of the new treacherous King.
Similar to the previous years show Mort, performances range from noteworthy to acceptable for the part. Granny Weatherwax in particular is just superb. All three of the sisters are the key players of this production, bouncing off one another gleefully. Hats pointed, wrapped in darkness Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg go on to become a double act whose scenes we anticipate. Magrat too, charmingly fiery but also delicate. The spirit of Victoria Wood seems to have embodied Granny Weatherwax, which simply proves the comedic delivery the performer offers.
Transitioning such a beloved, well-known novel onto the stage isn’t easy. Especially when on a limited budget, time and space. What works most for this show is the script itself, flawed in losing some key scenes, including awaited cameo from Death. For the most part however, key points are maintained and those unfamiliar with the text will still be able to follow.
The Wyrd Sisters is fantasy at it’s silliest. It’s nothing game-changing but it’s wonderful to watch. Made with passion, enjoyment and admirable in its creation, Duck in the Hat Theatre seems intent on spreading the will of Pratchett, one book at a time. For this, we couldn’t be more thankful.