Claiming to strip the story back to the text, David Shopland’s Macbeth also asks us to find the humanity within each character.
Witches, birth-strangled babes and prophecies aside, Shakespeare’s Scottish play is about ambition, arrogance and betrayal as the characters stop at nothing to further their own situation.
The play is the playground of the Weird Sisters (Evangeline Beavan, Nathalie Codsi and Caroline Charles), who cackle and giggle as they control the stage, rearranging the set and posing the characters in a unique and effective way, that immediately draws the audience in and puts a new spin on this well-known story.
The set itself is simple, with one table and a few red boxes that are used to great effect throughout the piece and the cast also act within the audience, on the stairs and balcony, which helps to give the piece more depth. The music (Callum Hughes, Josh Fontana and Sam Weston) is eerie and slightly mystical, adding to the tension and magical undertones of the piece.
Andrew Venning is a strong Macbeth, rugged and fierce yet showing a slight weakness as he leaves his fate to the prophecy and allows himself to be so easily swayed by his wife. The banquet scene where he sees the ghosts is passionate and believable, with just the right amount of drama.
Tony Eccles provides some necessary, but unexpected comedy in his role as the Porter, drunkenly mocking the visitors and playing the fool, which gives the audience a brief respite from the dark tale.
However, the stand out performance comes from Carmella Brown as Lady Macbeth. Her grief, anger and determination to see her husband crowned king is evident in her whole demeanour, body language and expression.
This production has depth, humour, humanity and magic, performed by a strong cast who have managed to give such a famous play a new and unique lease of life.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Macbeth is playing at the LOST Theatre until 1 March 2015. Click here for more information and to book tickets