The reason I was retrying Discworld was the knowledge that Guards! Guards! was on this season’s programme at Chorley Little Theatre.
As could only be expected at this juncture, the play was well-acted and directed, and the set builders had done a brilliant job. There was one entertaining moment where the Night Watch managed to all end up inside the secret society without all making their way through the door!
The set and costumes were designed to mimic the cartoonish designs of Discworld covers, and many of the jokes are taken word for word from the text. In some ways, there are more jokes in the play as timing and delivery allow for some which are not possible in text.
I liked the use of a crow to deliver footnotes and other important asides. And Death, one of my favourite characters, appeared in a way which managed to be both humorous and ominous.
A good night, but I expected no less from the Little Theatre, and am sorry to have missed the talk on staging that ran today.
I’m starting to get a feel for title puns here: Reaper Man is not only mostly about Death, but about Death becoming a man. And of course, if Death takes a sabbatical, all manner of chaos is set loose across Discworld. No-one can die, and energies are building up.
‘But I don’t think Death ever came for a potato,’ said the Dean doubtfully.
‘Death comes for everything,’ said the Archchancellor, firmly.
This is fast-paced, chapterless, and flits between viewpoints. Ultimately though, there are three-four main threads to the story, which all pull together for a very tidy ending. Death learns humanity and the value of a temporary existence, and the internal politics of Ankh-Morpork nearly prevent the world from being saved.
The supermarket trolleys made me laugh, and the wider theme of compassion made me think, as it was supposed to. The next book as arrived on my ereader via the library app, so I’ll be diving into that soon.
I have spent about 20 years telling people I don’t like Pratchett’s writing. Periodically I’d pick one up and give it a try, but it never quite chimed with me. Then a few people convinced me to give it another go, and I ran out of books with only my ereader on me, and spotted Mort (start of the death series) was immediately available.
For everyone who over the years has shook their heads at me not liking Pratchett, I apologise. Mort was unputdownably brilliant.
I now have Reaper Man on order at the library, only because I am too short on shelf space to buy every Discworld book right now (the long-planned library remodelling will be the subject of a later post).
I liked Mort as a character, but Death himself really was what dragged me in. His attitude to life, and kittens, along with the attempt to find an apprentice were all very compelling. The plot is perfectly paced, and the humour light.
Sadly the library auto-returned my copy before I wrote this post though, so I have lost my bookmarked quotes. I shall do better next time…