Broadway Baby talks to Stephanie Biggs about The Norman Conquests!
Eccentric lothario Norman is in ardent and inappropriate pursuit of three women: his wife, her sister, and her sister-in-law. The plays take place over a weekend of family clashes and general chaos.
Tell us about your show
The Norman Conquests is a trilogy of classic comedies from the brilliant Alan Ayckbourn. We decided we wanted the challenge of not one but all 3 plays! Our hilarious and talented cast will perform the plays in rotation (contact our venue for specific dates). Eccentric lothario Norman is in ardent and inappropriate pursuit of three women: his wife, her sister, and her sister-in-law. The plays take place over a weekend of family clashes and general chaos. As a company we really enjoy the challenge of taking classic plays and doing something fresh and exciting with them. We ramp up the emotional impact whilst also retaining and innovating the aspects of farce. High drama and high comedy.
Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?
We had such a good experience in a Space venue last year, we definitely wanted to come back to it. Being at Venue 45, not only is it close to the mile, but I loved the acoustics of the space, as well as the interesting placement of audience seating. It really gives us a lot to work with.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?
Well I always have a long list of things I’m going to see at the Fringe. This year I’m interested in comedy, some of the best improv I’ve ever seen has been at the Fringe, as well as new writing, in particular Corium by Sam Lane. But overall, I’m going to see as much as I can, and as varied as I can, which I would say to any first timer this year.
Why Edinburgh? What’s the attraction?
For this month, it really is the place to be if you’re interested in the arts. The Ed Fringe offers such an incredible variety of performance and it really is a perfect platform to showcase the talented individuals working in this industry. That, and the kilts. Got to love a kilt.
What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?
I always find with Ayckbourn’s plays that his characters have this hilarious truthfulness about them to counterpart the dark elements found in the scripts. There’ll be certain elements of the characters that you can’t deny having seen in your own family, or friends. Certainly with The Norman Conquests, a play about family dynamics at its most chaotic and uneasy, there is always this wonderful level of humour which everyone can relate to. Over the plays you’ll see the characters at their best and worst, which is why we recommend coming to see all three.
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your show ready for Edinburgh?
The biggest challenge has been keeping the humour from this 70s script fresh and interesting for a modern audience, which is what we love doing at Thread Theatre Company. Ayckbourn’s language has fabulous potential which I feel rarely gets fulfilled in recent works, so that is our highest priority during rehearsals.
Show Name: The Norman Conquests
Production Company: Thread
Venue : Space 45
Dates : 17th – 29th August (14th/15th preview nights) Mon/Thurs- Table Manners, Tues/Fri- Living Together, Wed/Sat- Round and Round the Garden
Twitter Handle: @ThreadTheatreCo