Directed by David Shopland
Macbeth follows the story of a Scottish general who is convinced by a prophecy that he will become king. Egged on by his wife he murders the current King of Scotland and takes the throne. However, he and his wife soon become haunted by their evil actions and descend into madness the company have created an interesting, engaging and well produced version of this Shakespeare classic.
The set is very simplistic with only a table and boxes on stage. The boxes are an important feature; coloured red which is a contrast with the simple black, grey and white of both the set and the costumes – creating a austere sign of things to come. The lighting starts of stark and bright but dims throughout the play, one of the final few scenes is even done in almost complete blackness! There are also some moments where shadows are expertly cast, creating a real ominous atmosphere on stage. However, the action does not just take place on stage, with characters entering, exiting and even whole scenes being performed in the walkway of the audience, making the audience feel very involved in the story.
Normally, Macbeth calls for a large cast but in this production a small cast of ten has been expertly utilised and multi-rolled and indeed each character is strikingly different and well performed.
The three witches (performed incredibly well by Evangeline Beaven, Nathalie Codsi and Caroline Charles) open the play with a burst of energy which buzzes through the whole cast throughout the show.
The witches, along with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (and pretty much most of the characters!) have been interpreted in a completely new way.
The witches are playful, energetic creatures who provide a great contrast to the seriousness of the storyline – they do switch fairly sharply though when giving their prophecy. Macbeth (Andrew Venning) and Lady Macbeth (Carmella Brown) are characters, in this production, who are really relatable and normal – this is a clever choice as their descent into murder and madness becomes even more powerful as you find yourself having more empathy for them. Their passionate and eventually turbulent relationship is clear and strong from their first scene together.
This is a truly fantastic piece of theatre which really breathes new life into what can sometimes be a very dense play for audiences. The innovative and stylised ideas used in this production, as well as the fantastic cast make this a great play for Shakespeare fans and novices alike.