Pros: An original take on Shakespeare with real emotional power.
Cons: The limited palette of gestures and tones became repetitive at times, and some music jarred.
“I have given suck, and know how tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me”. The Macbeths’ child, absent from the play other than in this speech, is usually presumed to have died in infancy, and these lines spoken by Lady Macbeth go straight to the grief that lies at the heart of the Scottish play.
Award winning director and choreographer Kally Lloyd-Jones has placed Lady Macbeth at the centre of this piece and the result is hauntingly powerful. Lady Macbeth is played by three superb male dancer/actors, onstage throughout. Three dressing tables and three white nightdresses hang at the back of a dimly lit stage. The setting is austere, the only colours are red and white.
Beginning with an adagio, the dancers move as one as if in a dream. British Sign Language was integrated brilliantly; the pictorial hand gestures made it seem like Lady Macbeth was muttering incantations to herself. It seemed possible to understand them on a visceral level because the intention from the dancers behind them was so strong.
Using three dancers enables us to see Lady Macbeth split into different psychological aspects of herself, and images from the play emerged and receded beautifully – as though she was reliving the trauma which drives her mad. The sections of unison played against these character divisions well. While two slept, one crouched with bloodied hands, his face a mask of anguish.
One thing that jarred was the use of a section of Verdi’s Macbeth sung in English. The sudden introduction of words which refer directly to the action on stage felt unnecessary, because the piece was already replete with lucid imagery. The violent landscape of Lady Macbeth’s psyche was expressed best when physicalised, and the final image of her frenzied cradling of an absent child was unforgettable.
Creator and Director: Kally Lloyd-Jones
Choreography: Kally Lloyd-Jones with the cast
Cast: Thomas J. Baylis, Jacob Casselden, Jack Webb
Design: Janis Hart
Lighting: Laura Hawkins
Sound Design: Jesse Godolphin
Producer: Company Chordelia and Solar Bear
Booking Until: 27 August 2017
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lady-macbeth-unsex-me-here