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Unseen Theatre Company
Bakehouse Theatre
Until 20 Oct 2018

Review by Anthony Vawser

For those who are well-versed in (and wholly enthusiastic about) the weird, wild, wacky (Disc)world of Terry Pratchett, there is possibly nothing to quite equal it, either on the page or the stage. Anyone who has more limited or distant experience with the work of the author must look for their own way to be entertained and engaged by each individual story as it presents itself; such is the position that your admittedly agnostic reviewer finds himself in.

This latest effort from Unseen Theatre’s Pamela Munt (adapting/producing/directing/narrating) will possibly not go down as one of the company’s most resounding artistic successes, but especially if you can adjust your expectations accordingly, there is still enough colourful cleverness and high spirits here to potentially make “Eric” a decent night out.

One might normally expect to find a plot synopsis at this point in a review, but when faced with the task of attempting to boil down and explain the innate complexities and heady esoterica of the Discworld, it’s surely more useful – and simpler – to defer to Munt’s own programme notes: “It is a coming-of-age story disguised as a fairy-tale, but it also deals with the themes of religious beliefs and bureaucracy.”

Rincewind the wizard is a recurring character in Pratchett’s writings, and Chris Irving is a performer with past experience in the role, giving a comfortable and calmly confident portrayal. The title character is rather more problematic; Sam Tutty’s performance is competent, but Eric himself is inclined to get on one’s nerves. These two central protagonists are supported by a varied and quirky ensemble that keep things lively and interesting more often than not – even if proceedings do tend to sag a bit in the middle, as well as tail off somewhat at the end.

Standout technical contributions included the imaginative costume designs, and particularly the make-up jobs on a couple of iconic-supernatural-mythical figures. The use of multi-media in the second act felt, to this reviewer, somewhat out-of-place, and of questionable necessity. The special effort taken to set the mood of this show in the Bakehouse foyer upon arrival is to be commended.

Performing under preview conditions on the evening witnessed, Munt and her team generally did well to overcome occasional adversity and make “Eric” an ultimately entertaining show.