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Macbeth – Muddy Reviews

A Shakespeare double bill at Norwich's Theatre Royal - Midsummer Night's Dream & Macbeth. But what did we think?


Experts at fusing actor musicianship with some of Shakespeare’s greatest work, the Watermill ensemble cast their spell with the intoxicating soulful sounds of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday for Midsummer Night’s Dream alongside the more reflective sounds of Johnny Cash and The Rolling Stones for Macbeth.

Macbeth is a cautionary tale of over-ambition and ruthlessness that has been adapted to stage and screen countless times. This production fused the original text and characters with a modern and fun twist – contemporary army fatigues for uniform and weapon like pillarbox red electric guitars.

There has been a rise in popularity for military themed Shakespeare productions over the past few years and the costumes and grungy set was reminiscent of a National Theatre Live production of Antony and Cleopatra shown earlier in the year.

Postlethwaite and McDonald were an excellent pairing for this production. Their on stage chemistry and interactions felt genuine and were very enjoyable to watch. Sinclair’s Banquo was fantastic, delivering a stand out performance as both the alive and deceased versions of Macbeth’s loyal companion.

There were some specific dialogues and scenes that can be picked out as excellent – in particular the murder scene of Duncan, the shower of feathers that covered Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth’s insanity scene.

The set of the hotel with the doors ‘6 6 6’ and the neon sign that switched to ‘H EL’ was a very cool and edgy, particular when combined with the projected ghostly spectres and blood dripping walls.

Out of the two productions, Midsummer Night’s Dream flowed better with the whimsical musical format whereas Macbeth (for me) felt a little too camp and fun for a serious tragedy.

Both productions are at the Theatre Royal this week; Macbeth is showing again on Saturday 19th October and Midsummer on the 17th, 18th & 19th October

Book Tickets:  £10.00 – £29.00

Words: Fran Massingham 

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