Theatre review: The Wee Free Men

Adelaide’s Unseen Theatre Company once again allows audiences to peer into Sir Terry Pratchett’s fantastical “Discworld” with the stage premiere of The Wee Free Men.

Apr 19, 2016, updated Apr 19, 2016

Published in 2004, The Wee Free Men is the story of young witch-in-training Tiffany Aching (Josephine Giorgio), who ventures into the land of faeries to save her younger brother, Wentworth (Aimee Ford).

Tiffany has a little help from the Nac Mac Feegles, a band of little Scottish men, and a talking toad bequeathed to her by fellow witch Miss Tick (Alycia Rabig) – but she soon realises that faerie world isn’t as wonderful as storybooks would have you believe.

Directed and adapted for stage by Pamela Munt, The Wee Free Men is a light-hearted story which ebbs and flows at the whim of the actors.

The Nac Mac Feegle – or Wee Free Men, as they are better known – form an important part of the story. The hilarious band of bumbling blue brutes love to steal, drink and fight, and are terrified of lawyers. Some questionable Glaswegian accents occasionally prove a burden when trying to follow the story, but they always provoke giggles.

Giorgio refuses to be outshone by her funny and rowdy cast-mates, presenting Tiffany as headstrong and confident; she’s a character audience members will cheer for. Capturing the naivety and wonderment of a child, however, can be difficult, and I missed that part of Tiffany.

There are also notable performances from Hugh O’Connor, as the witty and occasionally helpful Toad, Harold Roberts, as the cheerful and assuring Rob Anybody, Natalie Haigh and Olivia Cameron.

The use of the thieving Nac Mac Feegle to remove props and sets is a clever and humorous way to maximise a low-budget set design, while clever lighting and wonderful costumes make for fantastic visuals.

Once again, Unseen Theatre Company has produced a wonderful tribute to Discworld and its late creator. This is a great production for adults and children alike, and a fantastic way to get your kids into literature by the great Terry Pratchett.

Unseen Theatre Company is presenting The Wee Free Men at the Bakehouse Theatre until the April 30.

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