Richard Wilson investigates an imaginative adaptation of a Terry Practchett novel

THE world faces destruction and the people need a hero to step forward and overcome impossible odds to save them all.

Unfortunately, no such saviour is available. Instead, the denizens of Discworld must rely on Rincewind – the lowest ranked wizard on the planet. But even if doom seems inevitable, there are sure to be plenty of laughs on the way.

The Rince Cycle is the latest adaptation of the well-loved series of fantasy novels by Terry Pratchett to be written and performed by Studio Theatre Club, and this time it’s going back to the very beginning.

To coincide with the 30th anniversary of Discworld, director Stephen Briggs has combined the first two books The Colour Of Magic and The Light Fantastic to create a play focusing on the early adventures of Rincewind, one of the many main characters in the series.

He said: “It’s about destruction coming to Discworld. Portentous events are occurring that seem to herald the end of the multiverse as they know it.

“Discworld’s most inept wizard Rincewind, a man with a wizarding ability below zero, holds the key to their survival.

“This is the 30th year of Discworld so it seemed appropriate to go back to the first book in the canon. “However, The Colour Of Magic isn’t suitable to adapt by itself because it basically introduces us to Rincewind and his sidekick Twoflower and follows them on a series of unconnected adventures. “The Light Fantastic provides the plot. We have got little snippets of Sourcery in it as well.

“The rehearsals are going well and it’s turning out as I envisioned when I first started writing it. It’s fun and it’s light – a nice combination of styles.”

This will be the 20th work based on Mr Pratchett’s books that the club has brought to the stage, all adapted by Mr Briggs. The plays have gone on to be published and performed in 20 countries across the world. He has also been involved in recording audiobooks and creating other subsidiary material relating to the Discworld universe.

The proceeds from sales of the first four stage adaptations have raised about £100,000 in aid of the Orangutan Foundation charity, of which Mr Pratchett is a trustee.

So how did Mr Briggs come to be involved in Discworld?

“It was a fluke, really,” he said. “We’d performed two adaptations of Monty Python and two of Tom Sharpe’s books.

“We were looking for our next play and someone suggested a book by Terry Pratchett, so I read it, liked it, then read the whole canon. I wrote to him asking if we could adapt it and he agreed – in fact, he came along to watch it.”

At the time, a production company had been exploring the possibility of making a film of another novel – Mort – but the process was moving incredibly slowly and in the end it was never made. Mr Pratchett suggested that Mr Briggs could turn it into a play instead, and that was the beginning of their creative partnership.

And there are more things planned after this show is over.

“We are already working on the adaptation of the about-to-be-published next novel Raising Steam, and we are hoping to perform that next year. We’re going straight from the first book in the series to the most recent one.”

The play is on at the Unicorn Theatre in Abingdon from November 26-30. Tickets are £8.50. Send your order, with a stamped, addressed envelope and cheque payable to STC, to Stephen Briggs, STC (Rince Cycle), PO Box 1486, Oxford, OX4 9DQ. An email contact should be included.