Macbeth @ The Nottingham Playhouse

This production, by Lucy Pitman-Wallace stays true to Macbeth’s Scottish origin. Avoiding the temptation to move it to the modern day; medieval Scotland is brought to life by the rustic set, medieval costume and authentic Scottish accents.

The effective start made me immediately sit up when the audience was greeted with the haunting sight of the witches. The play flowed with ease from scene to scene as we followed Macbeth and his Lady let hunger for power gradually descend into greed and insanity. Liam Brennan’s Macbeth was natural and at ease with the audience when addressing them; often emphasising aspects of his speech with eye contact which made it easy to follow and encapsulating. The bond between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth was evident and although Lady Macbeth, played by Alison Mckenzie, was strong and often used the power of seduction; it would have been nice to see a greater contrast in her demeanour when she gets more hungry for power before her final descent into insanity.

The excellent use of the stage and space kept me engaged throughout and the sections that were choreographed into slow motion were effective; although it would have been nice to see more of the battle scenes. Scene changes were smooth and inventive by using the witches to clear away the dead. At first I was surprised by the use of music within the production, as the set was quite naturalistic (I do have to admit spending some time trying to work out if it was the music from the film Halloween); but it was successful in bringing an air of anxiety to the scenes it accompanied.

Macbeth is a powerful production, successfully telling a story about misplaced ambition and the intimately closed in world by Macbeth and his Lady –  where every priority and balance is out of order and full of love, greed, inner turmoil and insanity. Though not wishing to tempt fate, I think it can be said that this production may have escaped curse free.

Danielle Wilson

ArtsArts Reviews

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