Directed by Nat Luurtsema
Starring Lu Corfield, Ruth Bratt, Anna Crilly, Mike Wozniak, & Will Hartley
Short Film Review by Evie Brudenall
“When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” Those lines will not only send shudders down the spine of GCSE students across the country but are also unmistakably the words of the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The tragic tale of a man with a mighty hamartia has been reimagined time and time again, but writer/director Nat Luurtsema has introduced an entirely different perspective in Wyrdoes – that of the three witches.
Continuously targeted by the Kingdom’s inhabitants and singled out as witches, Merope (Ruth Bratt), Elsab (Lu Corfield) and Magrit (Anna Crilly) live a droll and aimless life. During an antagonistic encounter with Macbeth (Mike Wozniak) and Banquo (Will Hartley), the witches thoughtlessly give the pair a cryptic foretelling, one that spurs Macbeth to commit heinous actions, much to the horror and surprise of Merope, Elsab and Margrit.
The opening shot of Wyrdoes sees the camera capturing a vast and rural landscape, including a grand castle and sunset sky as our three protagonists beat on against tough terrain. Their archaic language indicates that the fictional piece takes place within the realm of Shakespeare, but the tone of seriousness is thwarted when one of the women clumsily injures herself, prompting very vocal and profane rumbles of dissent from her exasperated companions. The shift from drama to dark comedy is sudden and thereby making the humour hit even harder in an unexpected but welcome turn.
Abused by the village idiots at every and any opportunity, Merope, Elsab and Magrit persevere against prejudice with grit and sarcasm. Confronted by a brash Macbeth and Banquo, the three accused witches throw flippant prophecies their way (which we all know very well), to which Macbeth guffaws, “My arse!”. To their surprise and horror, Macbeth begins a course of murderous action to ensure the promise of the prophecy and the women try to amend their blunder. The ribbing rapport that provides the foundation of their friendship as they attempt to pacify Macbeth’s thirst for power is a joy to watch, and a comedy series or sequel that follows their awkward escapades in life definitely would not go amiss.
Tonally, Wyrdoes bears a strong resemblance to Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s fantastic BBC 2 anthology series Inside No 9, particularly an episode entitled “The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge”, that sees a woman accused of witchcraft by the village buffoons. The dialogue is sharp and quotable, with elements of modern sensibilities incorporated – a balance that Wyrdoes also successfully strikes. However, Wyrdoes is about ten minutes shy of an episode of Inside No 9’s running time, and as a result, a plethora of opportunities for humour and shenanigans are missed and remain unseized. We’re given a taste of the witches’ story but it’s not always enough to fully appetise.
Macbeth. It’s a tale as old as time, but Luurtsema’s unique and comedic angle on the tragedy makes the vintage feel new and creates a surprisingly delightful short film that brims with unexplored potential.