Reviewed by Leigh Jackman
The National Theatre’s Macbeth at the Mayflower in Southampton was epic in all aspects. The dirty, bleak post-apocalyptic setting expressed the desperate inward and outward struggles that the play explores perfectly.
Rufus Norris’ fast moving direction helped the play move with grateful ease. The presentism really brought the script to life and helped the plot tone, accessible even under the thick Scottish accents.
Rae Smith’s dystopian set and Paul Pyant’s lighting combined perfectly at times to really capture the torment of inner spectres that the characters were struggling with. The wooden slope enabled the cast to appear and disappear at breakneck speed added a vibrance to the production.
Michael Nardone seemed to grow in strength as his madness descended capturing the depth of Macbeth’s character. Kirsty Besterman, as Lady Macbeth, in comparisons was breath-taking in her strength, becoming more fragile as the weight of her actions tears her apart.
The Weird Sisters where offered up in an amazing, gravity defying, pole hanging display that seemed to express their far-seeing gifts in a new and exciting way. They pulsed with other worldliness, the voices eerily seeping into your mind. In fact, Paul Arditti’s sound design really added to the edgy post war feel throughout the production with the off-key instruments keeping you on the edge of your seat.
The cast was mainly dressed in utilitarian combats and denim, the only exception being the splash of red signalling out the royalty, Lady Macbeth’s distressed red sequin gown seemed to steel her strength hanging from her vulnerable frame in comparison to the strong powerful woman she was in her combats. The use of texture throughout the production was interesting from the way plastic was used to single out the thrown as a place of value to the drapes of liquid fabric that seemed to pour despair down onto the stage.
The plot was easy enough to follow so will it go down well with those studying Macbeth and this interpretation will leave all those that see it lots to discuss and debate.
Tickets cost from £14.50 to £39.50 (booking fees may apply).
Macbeth is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 26 February to 2 March 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811