By Limp Giardia
Macbeth With Fish Stuffed Up Our Arses
Assembly Poxy, 16:00
As always, Fringegoers this year will have a cornucopia of Macbeths to choose from. There’s the Modern Macbeth at the Concrete Hardbastard Theatre, or Maccie B’s N Txtspk at the Fluffy Warehouse, with its iconic rendering of “Is shankICB4I fam??” After having Banquo slain, the Thane of Glamis underscores the malady by texting “pwnd” to the dead man’s phone.
Neither is it new to see a carnivalesque play on the nether regions. Theatre fans will recall 2011’s Macbeth In Which Everyone Has Sex With a Haggis, a production that really restored to the Scottish play its earthy, pre-Union clannishness and proved that the work, like the sheep’s stomach, could keep its form despite the most violent traducement.
So does Macbeth With Fish Stuffed Up Our Arses offer anything new? Well it’s wonderful to see Simon Gravysniffer’s Duncan, a plodding and deliberate interpretation due to the anal impediment of a 12-pound Pollock. The accidental ejection of the Grey Gurnard in the rectum of Graham Tights’s Macbeth over the arm of his wife added a special gravitas to Lady Macbeth’s “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”. The killer queen, played by Amanda Amandamanda, admirably keeps her grip on an Atlantic wrasse throughout the performance.
In short, Macbeth With Fish Stuffed Up Our Arses is a pisciverous delight. Running at just one hour and 52 minutes (a record by 50 minutes), the garbled, pained dialogue and the apparent urgency with which the players wish to remove their scaley back passengers speaks tracts about the discomfort of the human condition. Or something.
Look Back in Anger Whilst Needing a Wee
Where else to go with the kitchen sink drama? Producers have agonised over this question for so long that it’s surprising – and a relief – to see the answer. The kitchen sink drama needs actors for whom the kitchen sink is a tempting conduit of relief.
This isn’t the first time micturition, and our ceaseless need for it, has found expression on the stage. Who can forget Ash Dutchelmdisease’s production of The Secret Garden After a Five Litre Bottle of Lemonade, a powerful piece of feminist speechifying that turned a watershed piece of literature into a watershedding piece of theatre at Edinburgh’s Dirty Pocket Rep in 2009.
There, the incontinence was a poignant remark on female sexual release whereas here we have the social upheavals of postwar Britain expressed in all their pressing immediacy. By removing the bathroom from Osborne’s work, director Rowan Poplar has brought that kitchen sink back into focus.
When Jimmy, sensitively played by Crabapple Firlarch, gasps “The wrong people going hungry, the wrong people being loved, the wrong people dying!” the audience wants to rejoin “The wrong people wetting themselves, too”. And how do we resist? Well, there is the play’s timeless message: suppress what is inside, even if it’s making your eyes water.
As Jimmy crosses his legs in agony and Helena (Maple Beechbirch) gestures towards a toilet that is no longer there, the long-suffering Alison (Juniper Hornbeam) delivers the line “Oh, don’t try and take his suffering away from him — he’d be lost without it”. At that moment, the compromises Jimmy must make are as clear as his compromised dignity. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, nor board on the stage, and we must contend that the human soul, like the human bladder, can only hold in so much. Or something.
Note to American tourists: None of this is real. Please don’t go looking for these shows.
We just made them up. Although you will probably find something a bit like this in the brochure.