Night Watch

Last night was the opening night of Monstrous Productions‘ Night Watch in The Gate Arts Centre. This was their biggest production to date and the first time they’ve attempted one with the Watch and Sam Vimes. Having read it a few months ago when we knew which play would be next, we thought “How the hell will they do this on stage?” But they did. And they did it brilliantly. Having been part of the cast for their last play, Witches Abroad (we played the creepy Snake Twins), we know just how much effort and hard work goes in to each of these productions.

Night Watch tells the story of Sam Vimes, Commander of the Night Watch. After grappling with murderer Carcer, both fall from the roof of the Unseen University and end up back in time. Except Sam becomes his old mentor, John Keel and ends up mentoring his younger self amidst rebellion, riots and Carcer becoming a police officer. The complicated time travel was helpfully explained by Lu-Tze, a history monk, played by Howard Dickens. Craig Harper was great as young Sam Vimes. He played Mort in, well, Mort, so it was good to see him back in a leading role. He did well to capture how young Sam is in the book – nervy, eager to impress and wanting to do the right thing. Jez Hynes was outstanding as older Sam Vimes/John Keel and the part where he recited his Night Watch contract, word perfect, with all the punctuation, got a well deserved applause. Tyron Sullivan was fantastic as the villainous Carcer. A lot of actors when playing villains, make them too hammy, but he successfully avoided that and made Carcer into the type of bad guy you want to hate, but can’t help liking, because he portrayed him so well. The way Heath Ledger was as the Joker. The scenes with Carcer and Vimes together were amazing. They were the perfect pairing. And full applause to their final fight scene. They completely threw themselves into it. We could easily believe it was actually Vimes and Carcer fighting in real life. It was thrilling, though we imagine Tyron must be a bit sore this morning!

All the fight scenes in the play were brilliantly choreographed and everybody involved in them, embraced them. You could hear the thuds to prove it. And once again, Monstrous Productions proved you don’t need a fancy set and hundreds of props to bring a production to life. It was great seeing some cast from Witches Abroad again and also new faces. In particular, Jamie Gibbs, from Geeks in Wales (he used to write the Mithril Wisdom blog), who played Ned Coates. Us and Jamie have been at all the plays, sometimes at the same time, and all reviewed them, but we’ve never met in person. After we got the part in Witches Abroad, we told him he had to audition for the next play. And he did. And he was awesome. So well done Jamie for going from reviewing the plays to acting in one.

We have to commend the cast’s singing too! We didn’t know they could sing! The song went from being a soldier’s slightly humorous song, to being haunting, to being touching, purely by the way they sang it.

The storyline didn’t allow for many female characters, but the few women who were in it were great. Zoe, Lowri, Isabelle and Katya returned from Witches Abroad to vastly different roles. Katya was especially impressive as Lady Roberta Meserole, capturing her elegant yet slightly sinister nature perfectly.

In keeping with Pratchett’s novels, the humour was brilliant too. Los Shanahan as Dr Lawn had some great, funny lines, and Matthew Hitchman as Fred Colon managed to make the audience laugh just by waving a flag. We laughed the whole time he had it.

If you’ve never seen one of their plays, go and see it. If you love Terry Pratchett, go and see it. If you’ve never heard of Terry Pratchett, go and see it. All proceeds go to Alzheimer’s Research and so far, they’ve raised over £12,000 from all their productions.

We’re already looking forwards to the next play in February (opening on our birthday) and Going Postal in August. We hope they will be able to perform every Discworld novel, but they’ll have to re-do Monstrous Regiment and Carpe Jugulum, because we missed those ones.

Cast

Sam Vimes/John Keel – Jez Hynes

Young Sam Vimes – Craig Harper

Carcer – Tyron Sullivan

Fred Colon – Matthew Hitchman

Nobby Nobbs – John Simpson

Snouty – Pete Belson

Lu-Tze – Howard Dickins

Ned Coates – Jamie Gibbs

Lady Roberta Meserole – Katya Moskvina

Havelock Vetinari – Harry Spencer

Dr Lawn – Loz Shanahan

Reg Shoe – Nick Dunn

Snapcase/Tilden – Stuart Moss

Dibler/Selachii – Matt Burnett

Lord Winder/various – Joshua Flynn

Captain Swing – Michael Dickinson

Mrs Rutherford/various – Sarah Pruett

Rust/Dr Follet – Terrance Edwards

Supple/Young Sybil – Sarah Burrow

Wiglet – John B. Dent

Captain Wrangle – Tony Beard

Sergeant Knock – Matthew Fisher

Major Mountjoy Standfast – Edward Duke

Slant/various – Ben Wilson

Sergeant Dickens – Matthew Edwards

Hepplewhite/various – Luke Belson

Dotsie/various – Zoe Azzopardi

Solider – Sam Steele

Sandra – Isabelle Burman

Leggie/Gabitass – Richard McReynolds

Various – Mikey Wickham

Rebel – Lowri Belson

Waddy – Dan Collins

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. […] “If you love Terry Pratchett, go and see it!” — CL Raven […]


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