Something Wicked This Way Came
Pete Crowther, the polymath that is, and owner of PS Publishing, whose titles (and the man himself)andhave just walked away with some International Horror Guild Awards and a few World Fantasy Awards was shocked a few years ago when a contestant on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' didn't know who Ray Bradbury was. Pete wrote about that, I think, in his column in the late-lamented, 'The Third Alternative', so it was a pleasure to go along to a packed Tramway theatre in Glasgowand the other night at the start of the Glasgow run of Bradbury's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes', performed by Catherine Wheels and the National Theatre of Scotland.

The show had been all over Scotland - St. Andrews, Dundee, Stirling, Inverness and Edinburgh to name a few places, and it was great to see it play to an almost full, and expectant house, with the majority of those attending being young people and quite a few school parties. No obvious ignorance of Bradbury there, it seems. When I was at school we were given books of short stories to read, full of tales written by a wide-variety of writers, but there was always an unsettling Bradbury story in there somewhere - 'The Predestrian', 'The Emmisary', 'The Veldt' to name a few. Not your normal fair. When I was allowed into the school library it was the Bradbury books I went for first: 'R is for Rocket', 'S is for Space', or 'The Illustrated Man'. Dare I suggest that the man who wrote such classics as 'Fahrenheit 451' and 'Dandelion Wine' is actually a better short story writer than a novelist? Maybe because there is too much of the poet in his soul that seeps into his longer works, but, I think, 'Something Wicked' is his best novel by far, so I was curious to see how it would transfer to the stage.

It did, remarkably easily, with the help of a clever wooden set which could turn into the town square, the library, the cigar shop, the space between Will and Jim's bedrooms, and of course, the funfair. From the moment the lightning rod salesman came into town just ahead of a gathering storm we were transfixed, lost in Bradburyville. A great cast - particularly Andrew Clark as Mr. Dark; Graham Kent as Mr. Halloway; and Michael Grey as Will and Patrick Mulvey as Jim. Not to forget Jennifer Paterson as The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and a very creepy, and acrobatic,andDust Witch. I shouldn't also forget the eerie, and unsettling music provided by David Paul Jones on piano (and occasional voice) and Robin Mason on cello, who looked as if he could have been up on stage as well. We even got a free programme where the cast and crew were asked what gave them the heebie-jeebies (Cilla Black, said one); and they were given choices - circus clown or ringmaster; hall of mirrors orandfortune teller;and coconut shy orandcarousel; and ghost trainandor bumper car.

Perfect Halloween fare, and I look forward to catching Catherine Wheels when they come back to Scotland next year with 'The Book of Beasts'.

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By: Ian Hunter On Tuesday, 04 November 2008 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(1615)
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