Sleep No More
Black Prince Rd Kennington
This is essentially a promenade production injecting Macbeth with the atmosphere of Hitchcock. The Beaufoy Building once functioned as a school, but now it is deserted except for Punchdrunk's evocative installations. The knack is to wander back and forth around the building, finding moments of calm and isolation, nostalgia and melancholy in quiet rooms remote from the centre of the action. In tiny domestic spaces the detritus of lives already spent lie among the tattered wallpaper illuminated by the street lights outside. In the main hall, now decked out for the banquet scene when Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo, men in evening suits and ladies in cocktail dresses are to be found dancing. At another point the men move Christmas trees around as Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane in a strange dream-like atmosphere. It is bizarre and beautiful.
Everyone is given a mask on entry, and it is sometimes difficult to know who is a spectator and who a performer/usher. But this is the essence of participation, losing identity in order to more thoroughly put the imagination to work. In a performance of this ilk the personal is given rein to wander imaginatively imposing reminiscences on surrounding images. At the heart of the building in a secret place is a torch-song singer with a voice of such sweet disillusion that Hitchcock does come to Shakespeare.
"Sleep No More" plays until 20th December
Reviewer: Jackie Fletcher