The Germans have a word for it..Schadenfreude...pleasure in the misfortune of others
And misfortunes there were in abundance in the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Amateur Dramatics Society production of Macbeth. In fact, Sods Law rules. Whatever can go wrong does go wrong. The play, of course, is famously accident-prone but this Macbeth is our worst theatrical nightmares made flesh. And if we laugh - it is the laughter of recognition. Been there ...feared that..possibly even did that...though surely never so persistently or to such surreal effect . Did the doctor really say 'Foul witterings are abroad'? Probably not, but he might as well have done it's that kind of production.
The text is mangled, dislocated, confusing, condensed, garbled, mislaid, even at one moment lurching into the opening speech of Richard III. Inspired lunacy, embracing a witch in a wheelchair, a pendant moon that crashes to the ground just ahead of cue, a short-sighted murderer that attacks his fellow assassin, the sound of galloping hooves accompanied by a racing commentary by Peter O'Sullivan , a Duncan who fails to remove his witches nose, in itself a grotesque triumph of the nose-puttier's art, spotlights signally failing to find their targets
Macbeth invited to murder by very suburban door-chimes, a banquet scene devoid of any guests but with an omnipresent and unshiftable Banquo, and a sleepwalking scene with the characters trapped in a loop, in a loop, in a loop,.... and Lady Macbeth seeming doomed to spend eternity intoning plaintively, "Yet here's a spot" Lady Macbeth, as you might have guesses, is a man; Henry, the stage manager, co-opted very reluctantly at the last minute, and proving more adept with a hammer than with the intricacies of the iambic pentameter. Still, he soldiers on, giving a new meaning to the word 'deadpan'. Since he also doubles as all eight ghostly kings, this is a performance beyond the call of duty.
The production is, of course, a spoof; a send-up of the flipside of amateur dramatics.
|Mrs Reece||Sheila Hinton|
|George Peach||Steve Youster|
|Assistant director||Emily O'Rourke|
|Stage manager||Caroline Jones (myf)|
|Assistant stage manager||Caroline Prince-Wright|
|Lighting design||Oliver Welsh|
|Lighting operation||David Sinnett|
|Set design||John Taylor|
|Costume||Jon Keen & Sheila Hinton|
|Poster & programme||John Taylor|
|Box office||Nick Skinner|