Saturday, September 15, 2012

Son of a Dwarf by Jeremy Mason

Attended a production of Jeremy Mason's Son of a Dwarf this evening.

The play is part satire of the fantasy genre, part decent fantasy adventure. Although there are a number of pure pythonesque moments, and some brilliant shots at basic fantasy tropes that scored well with the audience, the central story is allowed to retain sufficient sense that the story hangs together for its own sake. Indeed, this is one of the plays' strengths, since a common error of satirists--deftly avoided here--is to get so wrapped up in jokes and one-liners that the whole thing collapses under the weight of its own silliness. This got pretty silly, but allowed the characters to retain a central dignity that saw them deliver their dialog as if they meant it.

I have been following the work of Jeremy Mason for some time and am pleased to see him branching out from children's plays to, well, sophomore plays. The same principles of frantic action and comedic commentary that served Jeremy well when writing for 5 year olds kept the 1st and 2nd year university audience I was sitting with howling with laughter. My 14 year old laughed throughout even though she has only just started Lord of the Rings, has never engaged in fantasy gaming, and probably missed a third of the references. And even at my advanced years, I pretty much enjoyed the whole thing.

It's hard to know where Jeremy's writing left off and the inventive direction of the Accidental Humour Company took over. The creative use of multimedia screens required split second timing, but allow the production to include astounding special effects: an arrow shot at the evil wizard turns into a dove; magic mirrors talk back; tiny gnomes climb in and out of hero's backpack; forcefields shimmer to prevent the heroine entering the magic cave; explosions shoot from the wizard's staff; and so on. Great stuff for a live play! The battle scenes were fantastic: actual armies of--well, I might have missed what they were exactly, but they were very creepy in a hilarious sort of way -- evil minions threaten our heroes, as great choreography has the actors Harry Wooing across the stage in slow motion. Fabulous stuff!

I will absolutely seek out any future productions by Accidental Humour Company. Pure comic genius!

I give the play four out of five stars.

View the trailer here:

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