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Silchester Players - Wyrd Sisters

12th to 13th and 19th to 20th October 2012.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Wyrdly wonderful

Silchester Players: Wyrd Sisters, at Silchester Village Hall, on Friday, October 12, Saturday, October 13, Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20

Silchester Players picked a fascinating play in Terry Pratchett's comedy Wyrd Sisters.

A parody of Shakespeare's stage works, there are all sorts of things bubbling away under the surface of the plot. Bubbling is actually a good word, as much of the action includes the three witches, played with good comic timing and well integrated speech patterns, by Lynn Davis, Jill Gillett and Anita Hatch, with the cauldron on the go and echoes of "When shall we three meet again?".

References to Macbeth are fairly frequent, with "Is this a dagger I see before me?" and the bit about "Who would have thought the old man would have so much blood in him" worked neatly into the text. Not just the Scottish play though, oh no; the ghost of the dead king from Hamlet, along with the 'play within a play' and chunks of King Lear with Duke Felmet, played with assurance and a touch of humour by Nick Lock, gradually becoming completely mad with only his Fool, Brian Gillett, to support him - and even he deserts him at the end for his girlfriend, one of the witches.

Well, it's all happening! Mari Fleming as Lady Felmet was suitably sinister. The plot is quite involved and not easily summarised so I will just say that Duke Felmet murders King Verence alter his wife persuades him to do so and the three witches hand the surviving child, the rightful king, to a group of strolling players. Destiny, of course, requires the child to grow up and seek his rightful place. It is what happens along the way that makes this unusual comedy so entertaining.

A large cast played the two acts with very good acting throughout and if the long first act was a trifle static at times, I suspect that it will speed up in subsequent performances. As for the second act, it fairly zipped along and director Keith Graham did very well in the staging, pacing and attention to detail involved.

Foreground actors worked well with equal dedication from those in the background on the occasions when the stage was full of people. Positioning was almost always spot-on, with only one short sequence where four actors stood in a straight line but they were in front of a curtain and a bit limited for choice.

I can't end this review without praise for Beryl Oliver and Mandy Larby for their excellent costumes and the entire cast for producing striking sets. It was, in fact, a lively, highly entertaining production, with sound effects and well-controlled lighting, unlike a recent production in Bangor, where they had to alert the North Wales fire brigade.