Review: Farndale Ave …. Macbeth

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s production of Macbeth is the latest production by the Two Rivers Theatre Company.

From the outset I must state that I am big supporter of Two Rivers who I feel are one of best local am-dram groups.

The basis of this production is, as the title would suggest, a play about an am-dram group, The Farndale Avenue….. and their production of Macbeth.

Unfortunately this bunch of amateurs (the Farndale Avenue…. and not Two Rivers) just don’t get Shakespeare right. It’s vital that they do as an adjudicator from London is there to see if they are good enough to go on to the next round in the Am-Dram Festival.

Things begin to unravel when the actress playing Lady Macbeth gets on the wrong bus…. it’s downhill from there. The only person who vaguely knows Lady M’s lines is the stage hand Henry (played by Mark Watts).

Everything that can does go wrong in this performance of Macbeth, forgotten lines, sound effects coming in at the wrong time or too loud or too soft or played off scratchy sound fx records. The play is in the same vein as “Noises Off” however a contender for Noises Off crown of a play within a play it is not.

I said at the start that I’m a big fan of the Two Rivers Theatre Company, I’ve seen some fantastic performances from them in the past, sadly on this occasion though I have to reluctantly say this is not their finest hour.

To intentionally perform something badly takes great finesse, witness the awful piano playing by Les Dawson for example.
The comic-timing could be tighter.

That said the thing that lets this production down is not the cast so much as the script which is not the finest.

There’s some great performances though, noteworthy of mention Mark Watts as Henry/Lady Macbeth. Frankie Swan as Kate was great, Kate had broken her leg and decided the show must go on, however more accidents occur on and off stage and each time she appears she’s further bandaged up.

All in all an entertaining evening and a different spin to celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.


• The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s production of Macbeth is at The Sir John Mills Theatre until 17th September

Box office: 01473 218202

Mark Keable, Ipswich24

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