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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Theatre Review: Men At Arms

Tonight I went out with my mate Glenn to see a production of a play called Men At Arms, based on a book in the Discworld series that I love so much. Two Nerds couldn't have had a better night out.

Men at Arms (the play) contains much of the humor of Terry Pratchett's book, with puns, satire, and general craziness that makes the Discworld such a rich environment.

The plot is this, the City Watch have to solve a series of murders, a problem when The Patrician of the city has legalized a certain amount of crime annually through Guilds, even a Thieves Guild exists, because if you have to have crime, it might as well be organized crime...

Alan Moore used a quote from a Roman satire in his graphic novel, Watchmen, which was: "Who Watches the Watchmen?". The Watchmen in Men At Arms may not be too morally corrupt, even the seedy looking Nobby has some good qualities, despite his habit of stealing boots off dead people, but questions are raised about those with authority under the law and the apprending of criminals (there's an "excessive force" joke in it).

The costumes in this production were convincing, and had a lot of charm. Turns out University students can act. Even the puppet "Gaspode the Dog" was convincing as an animal.

The highlight of the play is the appearances of Death, a well loved character in Discworld, in this production, the actor and the special effects to make his eyes glow blue were top notch.

I give this play Nine "Police Badges" out of Ten, with one taken off because it was Three Hours Long or more, but the play needed this length to do justice to the original book. Plus no production's perfect, even superb ones.

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