Pros: Powerful performances, simple and effective staging and some excellent fight scenes.
Cons: I wasn’t too sure about the corporate world premise, but thankfully this didn’t permeate the whole show.
Macbeth is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. It’s one of these remarkable stories that becomes more enjoyable with every viewing, as one pieces together more elements of the plot, reveals further complexities about each character and is able to concentrate more on the beauty and power of the language. The latest production of Macbeth by the East London Shakespeare Company, which is this year celebrating its fifth anniversary (happy birthday!), confirms this. With strong acting by an all-female cast throughout, a focus on the language and key elements of the story, this simple and powerful production by director Chloe Wigmore lets Shakespeare shine his brightest.
In a world where our senses are incessantly being bombarded, it is refreshing to dive into a world where the focus is on language and characters only. Roxy Faridany gives a powerful performance as Queen Macbeth, revealing the character’s more sensitive and sympathetic side, while Lara Falkner as Lady Macbeth is all fire and greedy passion. Macduff, brilliantly played by Amelia Parillon, broke my heart in the scene she hears about the death of her husband and her ‘chicks’. Somehow, as a woman, the story of her grief and subsequent revenge is particularly potent. I also really enjoyed the programme, which was signed by every member of the cast – a great touch!
Admittedly, I was a bit wary having read the online blurb, which advertised the show as being set in a contemporary corporate world of greed, with the three Witches being the personification of social media. I often feel that these attempts to add an additional layer to Shakespeare don’t work well. Thankfully, in this instance, while some members of the Queen’s entourage wore what I presume to be corporate clothing (all heels and tight skirts), and smartphones were consulted occasionally, these elements didn’t detract from the overall play. Although, for me, they didn’t add much either.
Macbeth is running until 2 December at the Courtyard Theatre near Old Street. If you like the story (and who doesn’t?!), go see it.
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Chloe Wigmore
Producer: Jesse Ayertey
Box Office: 0844 477 1000
Booking Link: https://eastlondonshakespearecompany.org/
Booking Until: 2 December 2017