Skip to content

Wyrd Sisters

by on 22 March 2023

Sororal Sorcery

Wyrd Sisters

by Stephen Briggs, adapted from the novel by Terry Pratchett  

Richmond Shakespeare Society at the Mary Wallace Theatre, Twickenham until 25th March

Review by Steve Mackrell

“When shall we three meet again?  Well, I can make next Tuesday”.  That kind of sums up this collision between the fantasy world of Terry Pratchett’s vivid imagination and the collected works of Shakespeare, in a play that revolves around the story of – well, I’ve got to say it – (ouch) Macbeth!

Wyrd Sisters is a 1988 cult novel written by Terry Pratchett, as part of his Discworld series, and adapted into a stage play in 1996 by Stephen Briggs.  This production by the Richmond Shakespeare Society, at Twickenham’s Mary Wallace Theatre, certainly went down well with an enthusiastic audience.  Not being an aficionado of Terry Pratchett, I found it quite hard to be won over.  However, given the energy of the enthusiastic company of ten actors playing multi-roles, and a comic script littered with Shakespearean asides, I found myself warming to the concept. 

The play centres around the three infamous witches.  Lyn Randall, who played the dominant and self-opinionated Granny Weatherwax, was physically perfect for the role with her steely all-seeing gaze in a stalwart performance.  Elinor Quick, as the jovial and mischievous Nanny Ogg, played a deliciously bawdy and comical witch.  The third witch, a young trainee still learning her craft, was played by Trine Taraldsvik, full of wide-eyed innocence and displaying some nicely timed humour. 

Particularly enjoyable was Charlotte Horobin’s jester-clad Fool, full of wry observations such as “fooling is a serious business”.  The love interest scenes between the Fool and the young witch were amusing and nicely observed.

Of course, the Bard’s Scottish play, gave plenty of opportunities for borrowing familiar  themes and lines, such as “when shall we three meet again”, “out damned spot” and “is this a dagger I see before me – no, it’s a handkerchief!”.  Comic references also to other plays, such as Hamlet, and the ghost of the dead King, the play within a play from As You Like It and Adam Brown’s Duke, descending into madness from King Lear.  Then, in another twist, we observe a young Shakespeare himself, played by Dan Edwards, who aspires to be a writer of plays that are more than just “stabbing and shouting”.

With an ensemble of ten actors playing some thirty different roles, versatility was key, and this was particularly personified by Simon Bickerstaffe, who bought some wonderful comic timing and gestures to each of his five characters.

Given all the complexity of plot, characters and references, director Cath Messum’s firm hand kept a tight grip and gave a sense of believability into the fantasy world of Terry Pratchett.  At the beginning, the play seemed to lack pace, but once settled in, the action picked-up and the audience seemed fully engaged.

The set, designed by Trine Taraldsvik, was simple and elegantly dressed in flowing drapes; and costume design, by Miriam King, was first class.  Wyrd Sisters gave an interesting night of theatre, with some good performances, bringing an insight into the complex fantasy of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Steve Mackrell, March 2023

Photography courtesy of Richmond Shakespeare Society

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: