By Melissa Compton.
Peculiar Productions delivered a brilliant performance at The Gate, Cardiff, on the opening night of their new production, Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms.
Characterization was outstanding, with many character’s roles in the night beginning pre-show such as the crowd-pleasing clowns. The cast clearly loved the roles they played, excellent teamwork was also on display throughout the performance both during scenes and with changing sets.
Men at Arms is set in the ‘Discworld’ (part of the Terry Pratchett universe) city of Ankh-Morpork. The story follows the city’s night watch as they learn to work together when new recruits are incorporated from the city’s ethnic minorities i.e. dwarfs, trolls, and the undead. The story begins as Captain Vimes (human) is set to retire in two days following his wedding. When a new weapon called the ‘GONE’ emerges threatening the city, it seems only the night watch can solve the mystery of the ‘GONE’ and who is behind it all.
The performance was played out in scenes and narration which were indicated by the ringing of the bell, and a change in lighting. The introduction of the show’s principle characters at the beginning was very useful if you haven’t read the book.
A raffle was held in the interval, which was led by the clowns and Dr Whiteface, with proceeds going to Nerve Tumours UK. There are a few character’s in the production that are villainised, the stern and authoritative Dr Whiteface is one of these as the head of the clown guild.
The cast delivered emotional and passionate performances, especially Captain Vimes, from whom we see a range of emotions, ranging from worrying about retirement to protecting the one’s he cares about most.
The humour, which was mainly provided by the narration, was constant and perfectly timed throughout the performance.
Peculiar Productions Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms is at The Gate, Cardiff till 24 August. See below for more information: