Songs freshen up Bard’s ‘Scot­tish play’

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS -

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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.

Ju­dith Wordsworth

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