12 – 16 December
by William Shakespeare (sort of)
Produced by Red Squash Theatre
A satirical production of the Scottish Play, streamlined down to one hour, three actors and significant silliness.
It’s like a Horrible Histories Shakespeare production, some ridiculous parody humour whilst still staying true, for the most part, to quite a traditional interpretation of the play. It makes for enjoyable and very easy-to-watch pub theatre.
The cast, Rory Fairbairn, Holly McFarlane, and Alexander Tol, all exhibit some quite talented dramatic performances between slapstick gags and monologuing ravens. McFarlane in particular delivers an incredibly strong Lady Macbeth that would be praised in a more tragic production.
What was a bit strange for me is how much of the original text was kept in the play as-is. Macbeth’s “to be thus is nothing” speech, for example, and several other monologues were kept almost completely intact from the original Shakespeare without parody.
Other choices also confused me a bit. The naturally comic and vulgar Porter, whom I’d have thought would be a natural target of satire was cut completely, while the overly-expositional scenes between the lords/watchmen were kept in their entirety.
The show had some fantastic moments of comedy. It was at its best the more self-aware it was. The more meta and tongue-in-cheek the greater were the laughs. It has the seeds of something brilliantly Mel Brooksian, but on the whole was oddly reverent for a production with a talking cauldron and sock puppets.
Still, it was undeniably fun.