The Tragedy of Macbeth

William Shakespeare
Flabbergast Theatre
Assembly Roxy

The Tragedy of Macbeth

This visceral, urgent production of Shakespeare’s violent tragedy is the latest incarnation of Flabbergast Theatre. They use Butoh, the Japanese dance of death, as the starting point for the performance style, which serves to powerfully emphasize the darkly metaphysical nature of the play.

The ensemble, contorting and convulsing around the space, repeating symbolic gestures of murder and insanity as we enter, sets the tone for an hour of relentless action and invention. Every perfectly constructed, tightly choreographed moment in the play is explored for maximum impact and clarity of purpose.

The simple set of sticks, cloth and drums combines with muted simple costumes and faces smeared with clay to give the production an elemental feel, rooting it in nature. Each individual performance is powerful, with strength and tension of physicality and voice.

Theatrical polymaths Flabbergast bring elements of their rich performance history to bear in some wonderful moments—Fleance is a haunted puppet and the character covering various roles (including Seyton, the Porter and the murderers) is a darkly comic clown.

This is an exciting and vital interpretation of Macbeth which serves to invigorate one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays with a new intensity.

Reviewer: Tony Trigwell-Jones