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February 2018


Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett set on the fictional ‘Discworld’, a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.

The books frequently parody or take inspiration from other famous authors like J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, as well as mythology, folklore and fairy tales, often using them for satirical parallels with current cultural, political and scientific issues.

The series is hugely popular, with more than 80 million books sold in 37 languages. And when in 2003 the nation voted on the BBC’s 2003 Big Read contest and the ‘Nation’s Best-loved Book’; Mort was among the Top 100 and chosen as the most popular of Terry Pratchett’s work. 

Originally published in 1987, it is the fourth in the series and the first to focus on the character Death, who only appeared as a side character in the previous stories.

Adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs, this tells the story of Mort, who has been selected as Death’s apprentice. He gets board and lodging and free use of company horse, and doesn’t even need time off for his grandmother’s funeral. The trouble begins when instead of collecting the soul of a Princess, he kills her would-be assassin, and changes history.

Stephen Briggs’ adaption is totally faithful to Pratchett’s dialogue and he acts like a curator of the good bit’s, seeking to best link together the comic brilliance of his writing into a stageable production. Which is quite tricky bearing in mind the premise of a flat pizza style world and the multiple locations of the play.

Harlow Theatre Company relished the challenges of presenting this fast-moving, zany, hilarious and entertaining production and visiting this crazy corner of Ankh Morpork and Discworld as it temporarily swam past The Victoria Hall Theatre.

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