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July 2009
'Elsie & Norm's MacBeth' - John Christopher-Wood

By Kate Young- Friday, July 31st, 2009
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)

PREPARE to laugh yourself silly at Elsie and Norm’s Macbeth, which was aired at Trinity Theatre, Cowes, last week.

The show, which is also to be performed at Shanklin Theatre, on Saturdays during August, is Shakespeare — but not as we know it.
Norm, played by Peter Stockman, is buoyed up by his recent articles in a pigeon breeders’ magazine and decides to turn his writing skills to re-telling one of the bard’s best-known tales.

What arises is a brilliantly modernised script, which allows Norm and his wife, Elsie, — played by Fiona Gwinnett — to act out all the parts themselves in their living room, with the help of two panda hand puppets as Banquo and his son, Fleance.

The show is a madcap tour-de-force, with Elsie whizzing between the screeching witch (there is only one, not three), Lady Macbeth, King Duncan I, Macduff, Macduff’s wife, a postman, a baddie and numerous other characters.

Norm also dives between numerous parts. He is particularly memorable as the wearer of a bad kilt and ginger wig as Macbeth and is a complete scream as the nearly 12-year-old Malcolm, the rightful heir to the Scottish throne.

Bearing in mind all of this happened in the 11th century, the language has been brought right up to date for most of the action, although the two main characters have retained the odd keynote speech as the bard wrote it.

I particularly loved the sleep-walking Lady Macbeth’s way of ridding herself of the spot, Fleance’s getaway and the final denouement as to why Macduff was not a man born of woman — bet Shakespeare didn’t see those explanations coming.

Both Peter and Fiona are absolutely brilliant and whether you are a Shakespeare fan or not, you can’t help but be amused by this show, which is directed by Andy Ball.

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