Macbeth is Shakespeare�s shortest and in my opinion most action-packed play. A victorious Scottish warrior Macbeth wins his King's love and devotion and is promoted to thane of Cawdor but not before meeting the three Weird Sisters� on the way back from the battle who prophesied his promotion and intriguingly tell him he will become King Scotland. Urged on by his ambitious wife Macbeth Kills the good King Duncan, takes the crown and begins a tormented and bloody regime of his own.
Drawing on parallels between the early 20th century and its violent, bloody regimes, director Alice Lacey based Macbeth�s world in a military camp, where men are men and duty to King and Country comes before family and friends.
Designer Catherine Morgan created a simple staging of towering pallets and canvas, the scene changing only with the makeshift tables and collapsible chairs of an army away on campaign. Macbeth famously opens with the Weird Sisters and Lacey conjured up a physical, tribal dance sequence that the sisters performed to Adam Harper�s fitting music. The weird sisters were played by male actors (who doubled as other characters), and performed the sisters as obviously gay; a world away from the stiff upper-lip world the other characters inhabited. Interesting concepts by Lacey that largely worked and certainly made the sisters appear other-worldly and strange.
Lady Macbeth was played convincingly by a waif-like and fragile Helen Miller, her portrayal was especially heart-breaking in the sleepwalking scene where Lady Macbeth abandoned by her husband is beset by guilty dreams of what they have done and desperately tries to wash the blood from her hands.
In contrast to Lady Macbeth, Emma Deegan played the far less complicated Lady MacDuff; the total opposite of the Macbeth family the Macduffs are a loyal and loving with plenty of children. Lacey had Lady Macduff addressing the conversation with her son to her unborn child that she was obviously heavily pregnant with. Deegan brought a naturalness and warmth to the role and is obviously a very fine actress.
Gareth Bale as Macbeth was believable and assured; I just wish that he had taken more time to enjoy the role and Shakespeare�s beautiful verse.
Special praise must be given to Giles Roberts who gave a complex and un-nerving performance as a double-crossing Ross. In this production it was Ross who was the third murderer and killer of Lady Macduff! Also Martyn Dempsey, who gave a great performance as Duncan even though the character is much older than the actor himself!
Hearty congratulations to Alice Lacey and her team for a gripping, interesting and well thought out Macbeth.