THE magnificence and atmosphere of the Rose Theatre is used to full advantage in a new production from theatre company The Malachites, of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Dark, brooding, eerie and dramatic, the Park Street theatre is the perfect place to stage this play with its themes of power, obsession and madness.
In a bold move the three witches are played by men and they open proceedings right at the back of the space beyond the water and as far away from the audience as it’s possible to get.
From there it romps along at a fair pace largely due to the pruning of the text that has been done to contain the action to a mere 90 minutes.
In many ways this is unsatisfactory because inevitably with such a cut, scenes and characters are trimmed or left out altogether.
It also means that the characters are not developed enough for us to either care about them or to really know what drives them to do what they do.
That said this production is still a pretty meaty affair thanks to the great cast, headed up by Benjamin Blyth as Macbeth and Orla Jackson as his wife Lady Macbeth.
Macbeth’s lack of ambition to be King is the polar opposite of that of his wife and here it is made extremely clear. She is steely and determined and while he roars on occasion it’s clear she’s in the driving seat when it comes to power and ambition.
Macbeth’s descent into a madness and despair at what he has done is also brilliantly conveyed and during the scene where he sees Banquo’s ghost he dives under the table a quivering wreck.
Overall this is an extremely effective production and made all the more so in its staging.
Macbeth is on at the Rose Theatre, Park Street until Saturday, May 30. Tickets cost £12. Visit http://www.rosetheatre.org.uk/ or call the box office on 020 7261 9565.