JEALOUSY AND GREED – the story of Alistair Macbeth

Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington

20/02/2013 - 23/02/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

‘A dark and twisted modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.’ 

Alistair is an ambitious young man who believes he is destined to climb the career ladder. His girlfriend is equally keen for Alistair to be successful, so together they plot the demise of his boss (and father). After the murder takes place, the reality of the situation sinks in and, consumed with guilt, Alistair slowly begins to go mad. At the same time his sister, suspicious of what has been happening, begins to investigate exactly who Alistair’s girlfriend is. Just as she gets close to discovering the shocking truth, his girlfriend confesses all. This revelation finally pushes Alistair over the edge with shocking consequences. 

Further information 

‘Jealousy and Greed – the story of Alistair Macbeth’ is a dark and twisted modern day interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It still has many of the characters, themes and well-known lines within it, but drags them into the present with a bang. This means those who know and love the play will still be able to recognise it in its modern form. However it will also appeal to those who would normally be put off by the name ‘Shakespeare’ or the difficult language of his plays. 

Ambition, jealousy, greed, love, murder, intrigue, betrayal, deceit – all of these elements can be found in the play. If people want a play which will keep them guessing – ‘Jealousy and Greed – the story of Alistair Macbeth’ should be just what they are looking for! 

‘I can’t wait to debut the show at Fringe. I have always wanted to take Macbeth and bring it up to date just to show people that Shakespeare knew exactly what he was talking about over 400 years ago!’ (Katherine Fuller – Writer/Director) 

‘The good thing about this play is you can still see all the main features of Macbeth. The difference is you don’t have to decode all the difficult language to appreciate what is going on.’ (Katherine Fuller – Writer/Director) 

When:  20th – 23rd February 2013 (8pm performances) 

Where:  Whitireia Theatre, Vivian Street, Wellington 

Booking information: 

Prices:  $20 full, $14 concessions, $14 fringe addict, $10 fringe artist 

Further information: 

Corroded classic

Review by Caoilinn Hughes 21st Feb 2013

Jealousy and Greed: The Story of Alastair Macbeth is a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Written by a novice playwright, directed by the same newcomer, it is presented by a rookie cast in under 50 minutes.

For the witches-prophesying-Macbeth’s-claim-to-the-throne, insert waitresses-prophesying-Macbeth’s-claim-to-his-Dad’s-department-store. For the ruinous psychological and political consequences, including civil war, of Macbeth’s regicide and manslaughter in order to usurp the realm, insert Alastair Macbeth slapping his forehead, whining: “Why did I kill my father with a steak knife. It’s all your fault. You told me to do it!” (his bitch-slapping wife, Ruth, that is).

Alastair’s father’s shop is being signed over to his brother-in-law, Robert (played by Jett Ranchhod, who is also, more successfully, the sound guy) and not the rightful heir because of some mysterious wrongdoing in Alastair’s past. Alastair is mildly miffed by this, and is easily persuaded by his tyrant wife into committing various depravities to get what he kind of seems towant, but not really.

Alastair is played robotically but relatively professionally by James Atkinson; he does pull off a soliloquy on a barstool. Judy Connolly, playing Ruth, needsto enunciate.

In the end all descends into a gun-pointing ‘whodunnit-Idunnit-yesIdid’, in the vein of Shakepeare’s revered tragedy if that vein had been injected with some rather corrosive substances.

Writer/ Director Katherine Fuller writes: “The good thing about this play is you can still see all the main features of Macbeth. The difference is you don’t have to decode all the difficult language to appreciate what is going on.” However, the “main features” of Macbeth have been grotesquely distorted and simplified in this play, and the audience does still have to decode its language, as the performers race through their lines, often delivering them to the wings.

This performance could easily be transposed into a comedic, fast-paced farce, and it might work in that genre if the physicality was improved. Having said that, to suggest a play which was inspired by Shakespeare’s most powerful tragedy might work as a farce is a problem in its own right.

Ultimately, trying to get across any kind of emotional authenticity, relate-ability, complexity of character or narrative arc when each scene change is longer than each scene is an impossible feat.  


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