The Curse of Macbeth
Great staging, shame about the acting
This article is from 2011.
From the knife-wielding thugs that welcome you into the venue, it’s clear that this production of Macbeth is going to be bold, brash and in your face. And in those terms the show doesn’t disappoint. Its striking design – all bloodstained mirrors and dry ice – matches the sepulchral Baroque glory of the venue itself. The leather- and bondage-influenced costumes and visceral sound design only help to define a production that’s dark, physical and aggressive.
If only this sumptuous staging were matched by the content. Shakespeare’s original has been rather hacked about in reducing it to just over an hour in length – and in any case, words are often lost behind the set’s towering mirrored panels. The acting is variable: Guy Woolf is a petulant Macbeth (it’s hard to believe he really has designs on the crown), there’s a passionate yet fragile Lady Macbeth from Eve Hedderwick-Turner, and Jack Hudson delivers a strong Macduff, full of impotent rage on discovering the death of his family. If the effort devoted to the staging had also been applied to the text and delivery, this could have been a real winner.
The Playhouse at Hawke and Hunter Green Room, 0844 871 3014, until 29 Aug (not 15), 4pm, £10.50 (£9.50).