by William Shakespeare.
Everyman Theatre Hope Street L1 9BH To 11 June 2011.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm no performance 30 May Mat Wed 1.30pm Sat 2pm.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS: 0151 709 4776 (wheelchair spaces and returns only available).
Review: Timothy Ramsden 14 May.
Lay on bulldozers – but first see this.
“Aroint thee – WITCH,” a rump-fed runyon reportedly told one of the Weird Sisters, The emphatic style of telling suggests the name-calling hurt, as the speaker, and her sailor husband, will discover. Similarly, King Duncan doesn’t know what’s coming his way as he promotes Macbeth to Thane of Cawdor in the traitorous dead Thane’s place.
There is, he prophetically comments, “no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.” Yet Lady Macbeth thinks otherwise, calling Macbeth’s face a book where men can read his mind. The balance between the views is a tension in Macbeth. It’s played out here in black-and-white, as electricity sparks, sounds rasp and music crackles in the ever-youthful Everyman’s final show before its major rebuild.
There’s some routine rep acting around, though Gemma Bodinetz’s production is prosaic only in that it goes for clarity and story rather than subtle poetic nuances. Without being hurried, there’s a sense of the pace of action, while every situation is clear.
Following the late Pete Postlethwate’s Lear and Kim Cattrall’s serpent of old Nile, David Morrissey completes a trio of the famous returning to the city of their early, or early theatrical, days. At first, Morrissey’s Thane ignores the Sisters as he washes his face in a puddle – an action reflected later, when matters have turned against him.
Then they mention becoming king. “Two truths are told” he tells himself. And he emphasises the wish his actions should have no consequences – the “be all” be the “end all.”
Anxiety pervades Julia Ford’s Lady Macbeth too. From the moment she’s first seen reading his letter about the Weird Sisters she’s agitated. There’s nothing inhuman; her call to be unseamed is logic rather than determination, her “We fail,” to her husband when he asks about the danger, is a statement of possibility rather than, as often, a rhetorical question. She’s practical as she takes the bloodstained daggers he produces from under his shirt (a neat explanation of how the moment arises).
It is, throughout, a fully-realised piece of storytelling and a fine note of intelligence for this Everyman incarnation to leave behind.
Malcolm: Mark Arends.
Banquo: Ken Bradshaw.
Duncan/Porter/Ross: Richard Bremmer.
Lennox/Old Man: Neil Caple.
Macduff: Matthew Flynn.
Lady Macbeth: Julia Ford.
Witch/Lady Macduff: Gillian Kearney.
Ross: Syrus Lowe.
Bloody Sergeant/1st Murderer/Menteith: Gavin Marshall.
Donalbain/Caithness/Young Lennox/Messenger: Shaun Mason.
Witch/Fleance/Young Macduff: Nathan McMullen.
Macbeth: David Morrissey.
Witch/Seyton: Eileen O’Brien.
Director: Gemma Bodinetz.
Designer: Francis O’Connor.
Lighting: Colin Grenfell.
Sound: Fergus O’Hare.
Composer: Peter Coyte.
Voice coach: Tess Dignan.
Fight director: Bret Yount.