Adelaide Fringe 2015
Fans of the classic movie The Princess Bride will relish the chance to quote the beloved lines from the film along with the actors, as this is encouraged during the show. For those who are not familiar with the tale, it’s a swashbuckling adventure with sword fighting, giants, albinos, Rodents of Unusual Size (or as they are better known, R.O.U.Ss), pirates, a princess and true love (of course!).
To summarise this well-known and most often quoted tale: Buttercup falls in love with farm boy Westley, Westley declares his love for Buttercup and vows to make his fortune across the Atlantic and come back for her. Unfortunately, Buttercup receives the news that her Wesley is killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts and vows she will never love again. Five years later, she is betrothed to Prince Humperdinck, kidnapped, saved by a mysterious man in black, goes into the deadly Fire Swamp and encounters the fearsome R.O.U.Ss. Anything more than this would be giving away too much of the plot and the twists and turns!
Although the program claims that the scenes from William Goldman’s novel that were left out in the film will be included in this adaptation the production was clearly a staging of the film. Hardcore fans will not be bothered too much by this fact; indeed, most of the audience were quite happily anticipating every scene and line. Standouts in the production were Ian Milne as Fezzik, Andy Jenkin as Inigo Montoya, support characters played by Matt Thomas, Kerry Folland, and the hero, Westley, played by Mike Shaw. Every scene with these actors ended with applause from the audience. The sword fighting scenes were well choreographed and executed in the small space, while the props enhanced the production.
The background and mise en scene were humble and adequately set the scene—it was true to an amateur production; the passion and energy was consistent throughout the show and the effort put into all of the details came through. Dramatising a two-hour film into a play is no easy feat for an amateur production and further consideration to venue, audience comfort, intervals, and viewing arena would have made this show less wearying during the last half hour. The show started a little late (admittedly to cater for audience members who had difficulty finding the venue due to traffic restrictions and road closures) and ran well over the 80 minutes stated in the program.
This amateur production connected with fans of The Princess Bride and everyone in the audience was only too pleased to recite ‘Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.’ The cast who carried the show with their talent and energy made it memorable and the slip-ups were minor. Although longer than expected, it was an enjoyable production and it is heartening to see amateurs taking chances with such ambitious ventures.