Macbeth

by | Apr 21, 2023 | Reviews, Featured, Theatre

Macbeth at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester

This production takes the story to a darker level, the dark side of gang culture in Estuary City, the biggest Freeport in a world which we don’t recognise. It’s Blade Runner meets neo noir meets Goodfellas where the hierarchy of the gangs are about to be disrupted.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have been together for a while, he saved her from a life of abuse and he’s a bit messed up from his own background, but together they feel they have the power to do anything: to change the dynamics of the regime.

The three witches are black trench coat wearing henchmen types with faces painted like The Joker. Their mics have added reverb so their words even more resonate around the theatre with eerily effect. These three figures are also narrators of the play, the scene setters, the observers and the film makers and all done in a way that’s most interesting. They’ve had to adapt and have added new scenes for this adaptation to make sense, yet it’s been done cleverly and unless you know the story well, you wouldn’t know.

The set is sparse with a big concertina screen showing film footage, animations, cartoons – visual imagery that suits the scene, and sometimes only in a small corner while two scenes are playing at once. A great use of space.

There are two screens at the front of the stage which are showing the live footage from each camera. Pretty much one camera on Macbeth and one on Lady Macbeth for the whole performance, and they were not fixed, they were wheeled around the stage by the witches as part of the performance, which meant you watching the performance at three different angles at the same time.

All the actors are very good and are on stage for the whole time, even if in the secondary scene and still playing their role, the witches also played all the other characters such as Duncan, Banquo, Macduff etc – this didn’t cause confusion as their demeanours changed accordingly and the subtitles on the screens were prefixed by who was speaking (which did help).

Shakespeare’s original language is used but is fused with words to suit this theme, needs must as Shakespeare did talk about guns, cars, gangs etc, however it’s clever.

The story is still filled with ambition, betrayal, loyalty, downfall, thriller, drama, brutality and paranoia. This interpretation is intriguing, interesting, unusual, brave, daring and fresh.

Cast

  • Benjamin Westerby as Macbeth
  • Maia Tamrakar as Lady Macbeth

Witches/Ensemble

  • Laura Atherton 
  • Stefan Chanyaem
  • Matt Prendergast
Listings at Mercury Theatre

Author

  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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