Reviewed by Chelsea Wright
Upon seating in the Lyric at Theatre Royal Plymouth, an eerie stage presents itself, with large poles topped with shredded rags, a mysterious wooden upwards sloping bridge, shrouded in grey, and smoke filtering out of the slope and sides of the stage. This, the perfect beginning for such a prolific play.
The opening scene, a dramatic entrance from the three witches, following which they effortlessly climbed the poles and held themselves amongst the rags: laying witness to the beheading of a male character, the head of whom being hung from the main witches foot. Further, the conversations between the King and his subjects, the joyful celebrations and the chilling murders, were all done so with utmost grace, and unfaltering speech. Shakespearian English, admittedly difficult to fully grasp at such speed, was performed without stammer, with such emotion as to keep the audience completely engaged. I would like to particularly note that the psychosis episodes were immaculately performed by Michael Nardone (Macbeth) and Kirsty Besterman (Lady Macbeth). The audience were gripped, and appropriately concerned and terrified of what was unfolding before them, and similarly of what was to come.
Throughout production, the slope in the stage, the poles (which later became clear to be trees), and large pieces of set (such as entire rooms) were transferred effortlessly across the stage, transforming the area to each scene without disruption, even with characters being positioned perfectly to glide through moving doorways. This has to be the best change of scenery during production that I have seen. The choice of backing music worked extremely well, in all areas other than the celebration; the high bass of the typical modern party genre was generally unfitting. However, the lighting was beautiful throughout, allowing for an eerie stage, through to a clear and pure night.
All I can say is, go and see this marvellous production. A modern sight, with traditional Shakespearian language.
Tickets cost from £12 to £33 (booking fees may apply).
Macbeth is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 16-20 October 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222