Stephen King is my favourite author and Misery is one of his best novels, in my opinion.
So, when I heard that the Court Theatre, in my home city of Christchurch was putting on a performance of William Goldman’s stage adaptation, I was intrigued.
I went to see the performance with family last night and I was thoroughly entertained, both for expected and unexpected reasons.
Directed by Dan Bain, this production seems to be based more on the movie than the novel and stars Lara Macgregor, as Annie Wilkes, and Gavin Rutherford, as Paul Sheldon.
Paul is an author who crashes in a snow storm and Annie is his rescuer and self proclaimed “number one fan.”
However, Annie is the type of fan no one would want because, after learning that the injured Paul has killed her favourite character, the titular Misery, she forces him, under the threat of death or worse, to write a new novel, one that will resurrect Misery.
What follows is an intense show with great performances from Rutherford and Macgregor, who both feel like their film and novel counterparts have leaped off the screen.
Macgregor pulls off the deranged Annie flawlessly and, while it felt like Rutherford took a while to get Paul’s accent right during the performance, he still did just as good a job as her.
Then there is Adam Brookfield, who plays the cop Buster and, although having only a brief amount of time on stage, also gave a good performance.
What really surprised me about Misery though was the timing of it all.
There are numerous tense scenes where Paul has to keep out of sight of Annie and the timing of those scenes were expertly handled and must have taken a lot of effort to get right.
The performance was also surprisingly funny with a lot of the film’s creepy moments being played played for laughs in this production.
On a side note though, what I found to be hilarious was how demented the audience was because they laughed at some really sick things.
Overall though, Misery was a great performance and adapted both the novel and film really well.
It had good performances, funny and tense moments and fantastic timing.