Tales from Steeple Bumstead – Part 3. The casting of Lord ‘Siralun’ Sugar’s ‘Macbeth, with yours truly his long suffering producer.
Lord Sugar wants to begin casting for ‘Macbeth’ immediately. Piers Morgan and Rio Ferdinand bustled up self-importantly. ‘I’m mixing things up’, growled Sugar. ‘I’m gonna have a bird playing the lead.’ I had to translate for the assembled mass that he meant a female, rather than a peacock or chaffinch. Piers started sulking and mumbling about Sugar’s jowls. I silenced him by saying: ‘Jowls are what a lady from Birmingham wears around her neck. And you, Piers, will play Young Siward.’ Rio started smirking. ‘You can be Siward to keep an eye on him.’ They counted their lines and are both sulking.
Sugar wants someone tough and ballsy to take the title role and has settled on Cherie Blair. ‘Best have a bloke to be his wife, like in panto,’ I suggested brightly. All the men started running away, except for David Cameron who was putting his blusher on. He’ll be a natural, I’m sure. I suggested Margaret Thatcher for old king Duncan and adorable Nick Clegg with his boyish cheeks for Fleance. Banquo can be Kenneth Williams – most of the time he’s a ghost anyway. Jedward (idiots) will play Malcolm and Donalbain. Some are shuddering in horror.
‘Best have some sex, Mary’ said Sugar. ‘You’re right’, I replied. ‘Let’s have Russell Brand & Katy Perry as the Macduffs!’ He agreed, pulling his trousers back up – I’m not sure why he’d taken them down in the first place.
Looking up from my Penguin copy of the play I exclaimed ‘Ooh, there’s lots of Scottish people in Macbeth!’ To ease the load on Sean Connery, who’s playing three of them, we’ve got in Malcolm Tucker.
‘There’s never enough laughs in these Shakespeare things’, said Siralun. ‘I want some comedians to play the witches. Who’ve we got?’ he asked me.
I looked over the mass of bodies below. ‘Tim Minchin, Eddie Izzard & Bill Bailey.’ He grimaced. ‘It’ll have to do.’
There was a crash outside. ‘Who the feck put that sword there?’ Billy Connolly barged in, cork hat on head from a recent sojourn in Oz. ‘How ya doin pals? A’hm gonna play Hecate. Keep ye young upstarts in line!’ he bellowed at Tim, Eddie and Bill. It was a good thing too. Eddie and Tim were arguing about eye make-up and Bill and Tim (oof, he’s a trouble maker) about who had the longest hair. To calm Tim down, I put him on Arthur Smith’s Radio 4 Extra show and told them to ask him ‘What is your eyeliner brand of choice?’ – see, they put it on twitter.
That kept him quiet for a bit. And talking of talk, my God that George Michael does witter on. It’s lucky we’ve give him the silent part of Old Man. Of course, everyone knows it’s the Murderers who are the stars of the piece. As you can see from the cast list below. I’ve included it, in case any of you are lost:
Macbeth – Cherie Blair
Lady Macbeth – David Cameron
Duncan – Margaret Thatcher
Malcolm – Jedward
Donalbain – The other Jedward
Banquo + Ghost – Kenneth Williams
Macduff – Russell Brand
Lady Macduff – Katy Perry
Fleance – Nick Clegg
Lennox – Sean Connery
Ross – Sean Connery
Angus Flame-Grilled Burger – Sean Connery
Porter – Malcolm Tucker
Hecate – Billy Connolly
Witches – Bill Bailey, Eddie Izzard, Tim Minchin
Old Man – George Michael
Siward – Rio Ferdinand
Young Siward – Piers Morgan
The Murderers – David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole, Kylie Minogue
In my next piece, I’ll share with you the excitements from rehearsal.