We are greeted by host, James Murfitt, who arrives dressed in sparkly trousers and a disco ball top hat, and explains that the show might be a little “illegal, illicit, illogical”. He is suave and loud and picks on the audience. “Who’d like to bang for me and who’d like to blow for me?”, Murfitt passes a horn and a gong to two audience members and explains the rules they must follow in order to get the actor more drunk, if a fatal sobering-up occurs. A warning is announced, the front row is officially the “vom zone”. From the get-go there is a sense of naughtiness in the air. The play begins and we scan from actor to actor, attempting to guess which is the drunken one, when Lady Macbeth arrives and slurs “Put your hands up if you’ve got breasts?”.
The performance descends into chaos and we revel in the mischief.
The piece is true to Macbeth’s history and set in Scotland. We experience this through tartan and bagpipes, with bog standard fancy dress shop costumes and a simple painted backdrop. It has a feeling of a school play with a certain, sweet charm to it. The witches are fun, clad in gross halloween masks and odd wedding veils. The performance is smattered with hilarious short cuts, such as the famous dagger dangling from a fishing rod, and Macduffs son Fleance played by a large barbie taped to a remote control car. Poor Joe from the audience is pulled onto the stage and coerced into becoming the scary assassinator of Fleance. The audience participation is brilliantly led by Oliver Towse, who kills me with his brilliant improvising.
Macbeth, played by John Mitton and Banquo, played by Louise Lee have a solid rapport and speak the intricate text boldly and clearly. The cast as a whole are incredibly strong. They’re confident with the script which allows them relax into the fun, improv style of the piece. Each of them respond to the drunken and spontaneous Lady Macbeth, Maryam Grace, playfully and totally in character (Shakespeare verse and all!). Grace accidentally calls the actors by their real names which clearly takes them by surprise, much to our delight. I’d like to see Mitton play Macbeth in a straight Shakespeare play. He’s powerful and likeable.
Maryam Grace, as Lady Macbeth, is highly pissed and it is so fun to witness. She’s flirty, happy go lucky and disruptive. She interjects into scenes she’s not supposed to be in and says exactly what she wants and it is welcomed. She propositions both Macbeth and Macduff to sex, and snitches on the director as she says, “We were meant to have pyrotechnics for this bit but couldn’t afford it”. She is in fact so mischievous, the techies have to turn her mic off. Macduff enters for his battle with Macbeth, and Grace shows him up immediately with “Who’s this twat?”. Murfitt does well to guide the piece, and is constantly alert in an attempt to reign Grace in, yet maintain the tipsiness. Despite his efforts, the performance descends into chaos and we revel in the mischief.