Macbeth (2018)

When I submitted my blog to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) having only ever reviewed one play historically I never thought for one second they’d be in touch to ask me along to press night to review some plays for them.

I studied Macbeth at school so was familiar with the story and seeing that Christopher Eccleston would be playing Macbeth made me squeal in delight as a massive Dr Who fan it was an even bigger incentive to say yes.

One of the things that struck me about Macbeth, before I get into my review is that the diversity of black and Asian actors was great to see, as an Asian, I’m usually in the minority as an Asian viewer, so seeing those from an ethnic background performing was most welcome.

Now if you don’t know the premise of Macbeth is he returns home from battle to be encountered by three witches who prophesize he will be King, which sets him on a path to murder to achieve his ambitions with the help of Lady Macbeth.

I wasn’t wholeheartedly convinced that Niamh Cusack played a woman so driven with ambition and passion to convince her husband to kill. However, her acting in slowly losing her mind and the sleep walking sequence where she literally pops down into the audience was well executed and believable that she was becoming unhinged.

Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of Macbeth is commanding and his breakdown at the dinner table was well played in seeing the ghost of Banquo.

The best performance I found and adding an element of humour was Michael Hodgson’s Porter, hovering in the background, chalking up the number of dead in the battle was cleverly executed and very subtle.

Edward Bennett’s grief as Macduff in discovering his whole family had been murdered was beautifully acted and the grief palpable, his performance was brilliantly underplayed in discovering this and cannot be commended enough.

There were elements of scare and horror to the play, the young blonde girls playing the three witches were chilling and those fans of the Shining would see the similarities in their synchronicity and rhyming foresight.

I found the production of the whole play well executed, I liked the dust falling when a person died or appeared to a living person in a dream sequence or breakdown. The use of the whole stage and the gallery at the top added to the whole production.

I found the giant digital clock counting down to Macbeth’s demise a complete distraction and an unnecessary one as well as the screen showing us key phrases throughout the play, the former just being an indicator of when the play would end and seeing if Macbeth died ‘on time’.

A complete cast of amazing performances with the central duo keeping it engaging at a steady pace for a play over 2 hours long.

Macbeth will be playing until September 2018 at The Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, for booking enquiries head over the RSC official site. Box Office  01789 403493

Mani’s Madness rating 3.5/5

Images courtesy of The Royal Shakespeare Company Official Site: Macbeth

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