Mort takes to stage

The Prospect Playhouse was the setting for the deathly comedy Mort, which aptly opened Halloween night.

Playing to an almost full house, with some audience members fittingly donning Halloween costumes, the play, performed by a 20-strong cast, tells the tale of Mort, a clumsy 16-year-old boy who is hired by Death as his apprentice.

Written by Terry Pratchett and adapted for the stage by Stephen Brigss, Mort is set in a fantasy ‘Discworld’ filled with witches and wizards, and offers theatre lovers a chance to revel in a fun-filled theatrical world.

The play opens with Mort’s father eagerly attempting to apprentice his son off and swiftly moves on to Mort accompanying Death on his soul-gathering rounds. Before long, Mort is being left to handle things on his own with disastrous consequences.

The second half focuses on the Discworld being thrown into disarray, with two time-lines running simultaneously. Concentration is certainly required as the story line starts to become rather muddled.

With a running time of almost three hours – including a 20 minute intermission – the play seemed a little long and would have benefited with some strategic scene cuts to help quicken the pace. More on stage action would also help liven it up.

With this in mind, I wouldn’t recommend the production for very young children.

Directed by Caroline Neale, the play garnered some laughs from the audience – but not as many as it should have done. Comedic timing was off a little in places, which resulted in some lines not having quite the impact they should have done. Continual scene changes – often for just a few minutes – gave it all somewhat of a chaotic feel.

Despite this, there’s some great, solid acting throughout and ample laughs to be had, while the occasional use of special effects, including strobe lighting, added an additional frisson of excitement.

Rick Glass, a veteran actor with the Cayman Drama Society, put on a fantastic performance as scythe-wielding Death, replete with a frighteningly good costume and deathly sounding voice.

Bumbling Mort was played with panache by Ross Grater, who managed to pull off the character with ease. Kudos must go to the fact that Ross pulled back the years to convincingly play a 16 year-old boy.

Treading the boards for his 19th season with the Prospect Playhouse was Roland Stacy, sinking his teeth into the role of Albert, Death’s loyal and long-standing manservant. Despite not playing the lead role, this reviewer felt he stole the show.

Other noteworthy performances included Murali Ram, who put a fun spin on the hapless wizard Cutwell, Kayce Clark, who played a convincing role as the rather spoilt and moody princess Keli, and Angelica Borden as Death’s daughter Ysabell.

Rounding out the cast were Damien Dilbert, Dale Henry, Angie MacInnis, Melanie Ebanks, Teri Quappe, Dori Stayton, Kasey Mullins, Jordyn Cleaver, Catherine Hinds, Brian Braggs, Ashley O’Neill, Stephanie Lewis, Clair O’Brian and Erin Lynch.

While the play may have been lacking in oomph at times, it’s well worth seeing and audiences are bound to get a hearty dose of laughter and a fun-filled night of theatrical entertainment.

Mort runs 8, 9, 15, 16, 23 and 24 November. Tickets are $20, $10 for children under 12. Curtain is 7.30pm. Call the box office on 949-5054.

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