William Shakespeare
Thrust Stage
theSpace on the Mile

Macbeth in 50 minutes requires a deft and capable hand at cutting. Not too difficult, you would guess, since Shakespeare is the master of multiple plots with tangents and embroideries often in excess.

This said, do we really need to see children murdered on stage? In this production we get the requisite murders and battles. The weird sisters are required but is the porter’s scene? Shakespeare’s plays need to be cut for most productions. Most theatres don’t have the money and audience attention for three hours plus of battle and blood. This is especially true of the Edinburgh Fringe shows.

Here Macbeth is done in modern dress, fatigues mostly, with Lady Macbeth in bloody red. This is a very young group of talented and enthusiastic actors trying to stitch together what they’ve been provided. Though spartan, the fight scenes suggested are well done. The battle scenes are enhanced with a drumming sound offstage.

But the text is badly cut and the actors seemed to have been abandoned by their young director, Matt Dann. Everyone seems angry and at ultimate volume therefore giving the actors nowhere to build to.

Tragedies are about people who fail because of character flaws. The subtly of Macbeth’s dilemma is never truly examined; we feel none of his internal conflict although Thomas McNulty in the title role does find some moments. The very young Lady Macbeth, a sadly miscast Georgie Franklin, is on fire before she understands what has taken place and what’s at stake.

The characters don’t seem to have an emotional history, although Conor Turley as Macduff and Joe Burke as Banquo are worth watching; the men fair better than the women in this cast (the production could have benefitted by a few grey hairs). It would be very interesting to see this production done again in ten of fifteen years time.

Reviewer: Catherine Lamm

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