Songs freshen up Bard’s ‘Scottish play’
THIS performance of the Scottish play – for one should never utter the Macb word – was the first of two Shakespeare productions, directed by Paul Hart, by The Watermill Theatre Company performed last week at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre. The other production was ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (see review, right).
A sombre set, cleverly designed on three levels by Katie Lias, sets the scene.
Paul Hart has directed an innovative production incorporating snippets of various genres of song, from the Stones to Gregory Porter, under the musical direction of Maimuna Memon, with additional company instrumental and vocal music.
Billy Postlethwaite gave a stupendous performance as Macbeth, ably assisted by Emma Macdonald (Lady Macbeth). Postlethwaite handled well the young audience’s giggling and laughing at a couple of intimate scenes between himself and Emma Macdonald. I must admit to a slight chuckle at antics during Duncan’s (Jamie Satterthwaite) murder, which again saw the largely young audience break into giggles.
Malcolm (Molly Chesworth), Fleance/porter (Lucy Keirl) and Banquo (Robyn Sinclair) were cross-gendered to great effect and the three weird sisters were increased to a coven, with lines split between them.
Mike Slader (Macduff) slipped with seeming effortlessness between utter despair, having lost his wife and children, and anger as he seeks his revenge and becomes the avenging hero who helps save Scotland from Macbeth’s tyranny.
A slight anti-climax, during Ian Mccracken’s wellchoreographed sword fight between Macbeth and Macduff, was hearing a wooden clunking sound as opposed to the metallic clash of steel.
All the members of the cast gave polished performances.