Friday, 21 March 2014

Macbeth - Wednesday 19 March

Naomi Watkins, Hawthorne Theatre Reviewer

Just back from watching Macbeth at the Hawthorne Theatre. Fantastic performance with all characters played by four very talented cast members. Atmospheric lighting and music amplified each mood, all emphasising the control of the witches over Macbeth without ever overpowering the acting itself.

The actresses moved effortlessly between characters, one second an old hag and the next King Duncan or Lady Macbeth. The cast used various props to denote who they were at any particular time such as, canes and sashes, but it was almost unnecessary as the actresses changed their posture, facial expressions and accents to each character. Macbeth was equally convincing in his struggle between ego and conscience, the scenes where Macbeth succumbed to his imagination were very powerfully performed (“Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?”).

The set and outfits were quite basic, the only exception to this were two television screens built into each side of the set, which showed flags to denote a ghostly presence, blood when characters died and so on. It was an interesting touch, not entirely necessary but along with the lighting and music it added to the overall atmosphere. The entire set was effectively just three large steps with grave stones, which created a dark ambience and allowed the cast to ‘disappear’ from Macbeth’s view into the background, but the audience could still see the ever watchful witches in the background, almost orchestrating everything from above like puppeteers.

Most importantly the cast were completely believable. I felt that the actresses particularly excelled; convincingly playing men, witches, a child, and completely changing character in an instant. Utterly captivating, even though my knowledge of Shakespeare is a bit rusty at best!