Under the direction of John Whittle, who was also the mastermind behind this cleverly structured script, the Student Union’s Stage Society (SUSS) executed a humorous, fun-fuelled production called ‘Stage Right’. It was a play-within-a-play, where we have an insight into the chaotic antics behind the pulling off a grand performance of Macbeth. Despite a small cast of ten, each actor offered a unique comedic angle to their characters making this a laugh-out-loud play.
The small venue of Fearon Hall meant that the stage and audience were extremely intimate; thus, I commend the actors being able to stay in character whilst we all found our seats and waited for the performance to begin. However, I was worried that the boy leaning against a piece of scenery had broken it, until we later learnt he was purposely holding up a piece of unstable wall.
Macbeth is my most favourite Shakespearean piece so I was concerned that the richness of its characters would be undermined by a mocking version. However, it was surprisingly refreshing being introduced to the three dark witches as a bunch of nutcases. Instead of bringing dark interludes to the performance, this golden trio offered slap-stick lines, ditsy frolics and terrible dance moves. Moreover, the play drew many parallels with Macbeth, introducing an almost modernised, student targeted version of ‘the Scottish play’.
After the dramatic yet comical entrance of the witches, the play was a bit slow moving in its dialect, not necessarily declaring a very obvious direction. This said, the sorry boy employed to hold up a bit of unstable scenery played by Yannick Budd, sustained the audience’s interests with his sarcastic remarks and unnecessary comments. Alongside Francesca Rice and Emma Gilbey, playing Patricia and Joanne, Budd was able to play off their airhead comments and gullible tendencies to adlib for comedic effect. I was, however, disappointed to see such lazy stereotyping by having the camp director behave like a drama Queen. However, as the play developed, so did his character as we learned about his unstable psychopathic past and tendencies which flavoured his role and the plot.
It was incredibly funny watching King and Lady Macbeth played by Theo Jewitt and Becky Lauder-Fletcher behave like egotistically driven individuals, blinded by their vanity and desire to outshineeveryone else. For example, Macbeth would break into soliloquy and Lady Macbeth would strut around seeking ways to gain attention – rather reflective of the real Macbeth’s we see in the Shakespearean play!
The second half of the performance really came into its own. We watched the cast drug their leading lady and be fearful that their mad director’s bin bag contained a dead body alongside the pure mania behind the stage curtains. A personal highlight of mine was when one of the witches believed his dog, Miley, had died of aids; thus he began to mourn by singing Miley Cyrus songs.
It must be said, the real star of the show was the most clueless of the three witches played by John Skerritt. He was so hilarious at being daffy; I couldn’t believe I was talking to him as a sane individual after the show. It was a thoroughly enjoyable performance which was completely sold out, a just reward for the talented script, direction and actors who made it happen.