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Theatre Review: Macbeth at Metronome

13 August 21 words: Elizabeth O’Riordan

Reminiscent of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film Romeo and Juliet, this production by The Television Workshop retells Macbeth in a modern mafia setting...

The play opens on the kings’ men, dressed in suits, suspenders, and leather jackets, immediately transporting the story out of the seventeenth century. Despite the contemporary costume and set design, the dialogue remains largely faithful to Shakespeare’s original text. In parts I felt that the text could have taken more adaptation, but the choice to keep the original dialogue works well and the actors deliver it eloquently.

Louie Spooner gives a great performance as King Duncan, delivering the Shakespearean lines with a convincingly modern attitude. He brings a youthful and laddish energy to the character of Duncan, playing him as a likeable, rough, and popular young man. The party scene at Macbeth’s home translates fantastically to present day, the cast producing an atmosphere akin to a night at Stealth or Rock City - creating the feelings of drunken fun before Duncan’s tragic death.

The play handles Macbeth’s hallucinations skilfully, particularly in one striking scene where Banquo (Joel Fossard-Jones) stands on the end of the banquet table, staring at the new king Macbeth, covered in blood. This scene utilises props to their fullest potential and establishes a strong sense of atmosphere. Joe Kinch as Macbeth really shines in this scene, creating a convincing and harrowing portrayal of terror.

Taking part in a Shakespeare production is a rite of passage for both aspiring and successful actors and the Television Workshop cast live up to the task

In fact, Kinch makes a fantastic Macbeth overall, remaining believable as he embodies the protagonist’s journey into an antihero. His acting smoothly transitions Macbeth from a good man to an unlikeable villain. Kinch’s emotional range in the role of Macbeth is impressive and he captures the many sides of the lead character, a man who is extremely emotional whilst also conspiring, deviously ambitious, and ultimately treacherous. Although Kinch plays all emotions well, he is particularly notable in the final scene of the play, in which even his body language seems to seep arrogance and insanity.

Other standout performances come from Mica Ricketts as Lady Macbeth and Alice Hudson as one of the weird sisters. Both actresses play these roles with a sly sensuality and an incredible sense of power. Ricketts thrives in the role of Lady Macbeth, capturing her cunning and charming nature, then her descent to guilt ridden madness. Hudson brings a fresh feeling to the weird sisters, playing her character as alluring whilst also frightening.

The first night of Macbeth was a great success for The Television Workshop and commanded a standing ovation from the audience. The props and stage production deserve a mention for creating a sense of atmosphere and gravitas throughout the play, alongside the largely electronic music choice which adds to the feelings of excitement and tension in the plot. The production translates Macbeth well for a contemporary audience, retelling the story in a way that was powerful and palatable for a modern crowd. Taking part in a Shakespeare production is a rite of passage for both aspiring and successful actors and the Television Workshop cast live up to the task.

Macbeth is showing at Metronome until Friday 13 August. 

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