Adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs
Based on the book by Terry Pratchett
Directed by Amy Davies
Performed by Monstrous Productions
Saw at The Gate Theatre, Cardiff
Opening night, 26th June 2013
When a family of vampires arrives in Lancre, ready to take over the country in a ‘sort-of-bloodless’ coup it is up to Lancre’s newest witch, Agnes Nitt, to use her unusual powers to save the day, with the help of a hapless priest. With no sign of Granny Weatherwax it seems that these very modern vampires may very well be here to stay. A comedy involving witches, Igors and a nice cup of tea. Carpe Jugulum will be a performance to remember.After the success of their previous production, Monstrous Regiment, I was pretty excited to see another Discworld adaptation. This one would be a challenge since it features the Witches, arguably some of Pratchett's best known and best loved characters.
The production value of Carpe Jugulum was kicked up a notch from the previous production, with the addition of live music and a marionette puppet to play the part of the Frankenstein-esque mutt "Thcrapth". This added a little something extra to a theatre company that excels in leading with a great performance rather than relying on sets or props.
There were a few sound issues with a recorded voiceover and occasionally Granny Weatherwax's lines came through too thick and fast to make out everything that was said (though the venue's acoustics didn't help) but otherwise the play was slick and well-paced.
One of the bigger challenges of the show was how to portray the shy witch Agnes Nitt and her uber-confident alter-ego Perdita. The move to use two different actresses was brilliant. The interaction between Agnes and Perdita was excellent and the actresses played off one another with ease.
If you're a fan of Pratchett's Discworld, then Carpe Jugulum is an excellent rendition of a brilliant story with a fabulous cast. Monstrous Productions has pulled it out of the bag again, and I'm going to do my damnedest to encourage them to put on another.