What I will do, is comment on it in the purest sense – a play with actors, dialogue and a story. The play was performed in the studio of the Burton Taylor Theatre – the capacity is only about 100 and the stage is level with the front row of seats – no grand raised stage or audience separation to be found here. For a powerful play such as Macbeth, the closeness to the audience adds to the drama – however, for those of you who have not been here before, the seats in the studio are only very gently staggered, which means that if you sit anywhere but the front row your view is hindered by the person in front of you – if you do get the chance to see a play here, make sure you get there first and sit at the front or, failing that, on a central aisle seat.
Now to the play itself – it was performed very powerfully and dramatically, with limited use of props (they were not needed) but all emphasis on the delivery of the dialogue, which was done flawlessly and impeccably by all the actors. From the start when we see the witch, and hear the spooky whisperings echoing around the theatre, the emotions, fear and madness of this story are apparent throughout. The lighting was simple but effective and added to the sinister nature of key scenes – however when the lights are turned on the audience during the murder of Lady Macduff, it was disturbing and uncomfortable, although that of course is how it is intended. A word of warning – the lights in the final scene are uncomfortably bright, so much so that many of the audience had to look away which spoiled the fight scene between Macbeth and Macduff somewhat.
As aforementioned, the madness running throughout the play was well conveyed where it was addressed, with the whisperings and hallucinations, although I felt it could have been extended further. The chemistry between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth was believable and truly conveyed the power she had over him. Macbeth, played by Nick Quartley, was very good – understated but dramatic (for some reason he reminded me of Billy Bob Thornton) and Nina Lucy Wilde played Lady Macbeth harshly and cold-heartedly, just as it should be. All the supporting cast were very powerful, in particular Tim Younger as Macduff.
The play runs for approximately 80 minutes without an interval so do make sure you visit the little boys/girls room beforehand and bring a drink in with you if you need one, as there is no means of escape during the performance!
Overall, from a novice’s viewpoint, a simple, effective, professional and enjoyable performance – I can see why it’s a sellout and on the back of this would happily go to a Tomahawk production again.