Wednesday, March 21, 2018

'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare

21 March 2018

We last saw Christopher Eccleston on stage (alongside Jodie Whittaker) in Polly Findlay’s production of ‘Antigone’ at the National Theatre in London (reviewed here in June 2012). As I wrote here, Eccleston was excellent as King Creon, giving a subtle and clever performance, turning his mood on a sixpence and discovering moments of humour amongst the angst of classical Greek tragedy, without resorting to sending it up. So I was fascinated to see what he made of another classical king, working with the same director on the new Royal Shakespeare Company production of ‘Macbeth’ which we saw in Stratford-upon-Avon on Tuesday. Christopher Eccleston was impressive again – a mixture of steely intensity and capricious mood swings, conveying much about the character’s inner turmoil through his movement and body shape. There was some great acting but otherwise I found Polly Findlay’s production strangely flat. The three young girls playing the witches were great – their synchronised speech perfectly co-ordinated – but cute rather than sinister. The idea of the witches reminding the Macbeths of their lost children was clever but its realisation wasn’t scary enough. Michael Hodgson’s ever-present Porter – a seedy janitor keeping an eye on the events of the play and chalking a body-count tally on the wall – was amusing but slightly out of kilter with the rest of the production. But Edward Bennett stood out as an excellent Macduff – an exasperated rational grown-up stranded amid a group of over-reacting adolescents. And Niamh Cusack stole the show as Lady Macbeth, giving a brilliantly physical performance with every muscle of her body betraying her thought processes.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home