FIRST the Scottish play, then a skittish play, as York Theatre Royal's main stage played host to two one-night stands this week.

Welsh company Volcano may be an unfamiliar name to York audiences, but nevertheless drew a goodly house on Tuesday, of the kind usually to be found at Fringe, Takeover Festival and Alexander Wright's Belt Up and Flanagan Collective nights.

Macbeth: Director's Cut is a thoroughly 2016 revival of Nigel Charnock's 1999 show, now in the directorial hands of original cast member Paul Davies. Volcano by name, volcanic by nature, the Swansea company's psycho serial-killer drama smashes down theatre's fourth wall in a two-hander where the Celtic union of the Welsh Alex Harries and Scottish Mairi Phillips play not only an erotically charged Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and a cast of many, but themselves too, moving in and out of Shakespeare's script in a night of sound and fury signifying plenty.

Harries, for example, begins by discussing the frustrations of time's march never giving us enough time, mirroring Macbeth's "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow" speech, thereby linking past and present.

Harries and Phillips flow between the "supernatural" and the natural, on the one hand moving as if in convulsions, on the other hand, conveying the domestic drudge of real life going on by cooking on stage. The modern set makes myriad use of white boxes, whether for prop stores, climbing into or as a long table for Banquo's ghost scene, where six audience members are pushed gruffly into action by Lady M to amusing effect.

The extreme theatre of Brecht, agit-prop, Kneehigh and Ken Campbell, as well as Oliver Stone's swaggering 1995 movie Natural Born Killers, all come to mind in Volcano's Macbeth, shaking up Shakespeare with dark humour and theatrically anarchic relish as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth blur into one, sharing lines, so intertwined that his hands become hers.

York Press:

Sue Ryding's Jane Austen and Maggie Fox's Mr Darcy in LipService's Mr Darcy Loses The Plot

Another two-hander followed on Wednesday, this time the much cherished satirical duo LipService, who are very familiar to York audiences of an older age. Indeed, Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding have been performing on Maggie's home city stage for 25 years, so where better for her to spend her birthday night than at the Theatre Royal.

Mr Darcy Loses The Plot is their latest literary send-up, this one weaving Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Daphne Du Maurier and Beatrix Potter into a storyline that also comments on the challenges faced by women writers through the ages.

Here, Jane Austen is writing Pride And Prejudice in secret, conjuring Mr Darcy to the room but leaving him stranded as she scurries away after hearing a door squeaking. Mr Darcy leaps from Austen's work to Du Maurier's Rebecca, finding it a much more exciting place. Onwards LipService go to Jemima Puddleduck and a brilliant pastiche of Cloud online storage.

Mobile quilt-covered screens allow for quick changes of scene and character under Mark Whitelaw's direction, while the quilt squares in Alison Heffernan's set design echo the patchwork story being assembled in a spoof of literary and film and stage acting styles down the years.

Losing the plot? No, this is a fast and funny, silly yet satirically astute page-turner of a LipService triumph, from chapter one to The End.

Lip Service's tour will visit Leeds City Varieties Music Hall on January 28;  Harrogate Theatre on February 16 and 17; Pocklington Arts Centre, March 29.

Box office: Leeds, 0113 243 0808 or; Harrogate, 01423 502116 or; Pocklington, 01759 301547 or