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Greater London
posted/updated: 03 Oct 2011 -
Julian Chenery, Matt Gimblett and William Shakespeare
society/company: Shakespeare 4 Kidz
performance date: 19 Oct 2009
venue: Ashcroft Theatre, Fairfield Halls, Croydon
reviewer/s: (Sardines review)

Shakespeares Macbeth needs no introduction. Most of us will have at some point studied it at school, and unless you were lucky enough to have an inspirational teacher who really brought the bards masterpiece to life, you will no doubt have been sat in a stuffy classroom trying to understand the language and constantly referring to inadequate translations. Not so any more. Todays very fortunate scholars can, with the help of Shakespeare 4 kidz, attend a production of the Scottish play where the dialogue has been simplified (while losing none of Shakespeares poetry), where different scenes are well marked and subtitled, the characters made big and bold and most important of all where the show has many song and dance routines to highlight important plot changes. How much better off I would have been during my school days if I had had this fantastically useful resource at my local theatre!
Setting the play firmly in Scotland and during the middle ages, this production had no truck with the modern fashion for locating the play other than where Shakespeare intended it, which was useful for children getting to know the play for the first time.

A simple set of three marked areas and a projection telling us where the setting was and also framing images integral to the ghost and witches scenes, was a clever and uncomplicated devise intended to highlight as well as push forward the story.

Macbeth (Jason Lee Scott) and his solders obviously had a great time strutting and fretting their stuff - a little too many actor stances (as seen in Blackadder) for my liking - but they got the point across very well and the children loved them.

The stand-out performances were from the genuinely scary witches Richard Foster King, Samantha Giffard and Kirsty Tibbets as they crawled and jumped their way around the stage, and from Noel Andrew Harron who relished his role as the hilarious Porter.

Shakespeare 4 Kidz coming soon to a school near you! Id leave the little ones at home and go into the classroom myself if I was you!

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