Monday, 14 December 2015

REVIEW - Macbeth, Young Vic

THREE stars

MACBETH, one of Shakespeare’s finest and most well loved plays is the latest offering from the Young Vic.
It is directed by Carrie Cracknell and Lucy Guerin and combines dance and often pulsating music with strobe lighting.
Judicioulsy clipped to two hours straight through this is not a production for the faint hearted and I’m not sure it will appeal to Shakespeare purists but it was an interesting interpretation nonetheless.
It is set in what looks like a vortex, a claustrophobic tunnel that presumably represents Macbeth’s mind.
Indeed there is no hint of the vast expanse of the rugged Scottish landscape here.
The opening scene immediately grabs your attention and is extremely disturbing. The jarring music pulsates, lights flicker and we see acts of tortue - a man captured has his head thrust in a plastic bag before he is executed. Grim stuff.
And because it’s set very much in the here and now, there is more than a nod to places like Abu Graib.
John Hefferman is fabulous as Macbeth, a nice bloke who is seduced by his power hungry wife to murder his way to the top.
But the reasons why he suddenly changes from nice to murderous at the drop of a hat are not fully explored and you never get a real sense of why he does what he does.
Anna Maxwell Martin as Lady M was something of a disappointment. She was ice cool but too quiet and sometimes rushed her lines so much that I could barely make out what she said.
The witches, dressed head to toe in skin coloured body stockings, were a constant feature of the production begging the question of whether or not they were a figment in Macbeth’s mind, part of his psyche?
If they were supposed to be a vision of Macbeth's decaying mental state, their constant dancing of juddering and jolting around the stage didn't quite work for me.
However, despite this there are some thrilling moments and the staging was exciting, clever and daring.

Macbeth is on at the Young Vic, The Cut, Waterloo until January 23. Tickets cost from £10. Visit or call the box office 020 7922 2922.

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