The Norman Conquests

Thread Theatre’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests is a boisterous and entertaining farce. With the same cast of six performing all three parts of the trilogy on consecutive days, one could return each day to see how the story develops or enjoy a single one as a standalone piece.

The cast are well chosen with Skerrit’s Norman having the right ratio of obnoxiousness and charisma that make him such an irritatingly irresistible character.

Table Manners, the first of the three, introduces us to the eponymous Norman (John Skerrit) and his philandering ways. His sister-in-law Sarah (Hayley Everitt) is so determined to prevent him from going with Annie (Georgie Levers) on a romantic getaway to Croydon that she doesn’t realise she’s being taken in too.

The cast are well chosen with Skerrit’s Norman having the right ratio of obnoxiousness and charisma that make him such an irritatingly irresistible character. Sam Lane fits the bill perfectly, taking on the straight man role well as the sweet yet shy veterinarian Tom.

There are a few moments that misfire. For example when Norman walks in to dinner blaring out Iggy Azalea’s Fancy it felt like a means of getting an easy laugh which was a touch out of place given the late twentieth century aesthetic. There was also the first scene between Levers and Everitt takes a while to get going, with Everitt’s uptight Sarah feeling a little hammy at times.

Some members of the cast are stronger than others. Director Steph Biggs as Ruth occasionally falls short although her speech about motherhood being a choice not an obligation artfully tugged at my feminist heartstrings.

The Norman Conquests is an easy watch but not without its flaws. It’s enjoyable and will make you laugh but it’s not the show you’ll compulsively tell all your friends about.

Reviews by Hattie Long

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘Is that wrong of me? To want to see you happy?’ Each day our talented cast perform a different play from Ayckbourn’s classic trilogy The Norman Conquests. Meet Norman in ardent pursuit of three women: his wife, her sister and her sister-in-law. Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden portray the hilarious and disastrous events of a single weekend from the perspective of three locations. Please contact our venue for specific showings. Can this dysfunctional family get along as old resentments, jealousies and rivalries are reignited?

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