The Farndale Avenue Macbeth

JOHN LAWSON Theatre Royal Studio, Norwich


Think of Noises Off intermingled with Coarse Acting and you get somewhere close to the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's attempt at the Scottish Play.

A witch in a wheelchair, Banquo with a false nose and Lady Macbeth in a beard all feature as the lovely ladies murder the Bard every bit as surely as Macduff kills Macbeth in David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin jnr's hilarious play.

The fun starts from the moment one enters the auditorium where Phoebe Reece (Glenda Gardiner), a harridan in a hat, is handing out raffle tickets and encouraging the punters to try Mrs Dabney's home-made fudge.

In the entrance, pictures of “past productions” are pinned up alongside a copy of Guild's monthly magazine.

The cast then proceed to play the first two scenes with their backs to the audience because of the vaguaries of the lighting and, naturally, all that can go wrong does.

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I particularly enjoyed the growing infirmity of Kate (Julie Christie) as a result of being repeatedly hauled off stage and tumbling noisily down an offstage staircase for continually trying to deliver her lines too early.

To be a truly awful actor takes real skill and director David Lambert has schooled his nine-strong cast well.

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