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Macbeth

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars
The guy sitting at the table in the Tron’s Victorian Bar is on his 
mobile speaking to the wife. He’s on a promise, he reckons, and is 
about to hit the big time. She’s telling him to go for it, but if he’s 
on to something, she wants a piece of the action too. So the guy goes 
back up to the bar, which is when things get really weird for Macbeth.

Or that’s the impression you get from Ian Macdonald’s half-hour Gaelic 
translation of Shakespeare’s Scottish play commissioned by Glasgow 
Life/Glasch Beo. At the moment, Liz Carruthers’  work-in-progress 
production (although not advertised as such)  is a one-man affair, with 
Daibhidh Walker playing Macbeth as a leather-jacketed bar-room big man 
who suddenly finds he’s a contender enough to take on all-comers.

While some of the original text’s subtleties may be lost to non-Gaelic 
speakers, it’s not hard to get the broader gist of things as Walker’s 
straight out of Shameless Macbeth downs another drink. Was that Banquo 
sitting at his regular table, or was it just a trick of the light as 
key lines from the play are beamed onto the wall in English? As his 
former pals turn against him, Macbeth checks the new Facebook page 
Malcolm’s invited all his friends to join, deleting as he goes.

There’s a sense of intimacy at play here which is crucial to a 
re-telling of the story that taps into a spit and sawdust contemporary 
reinvention of the oral tradition. Whatever happens next in the 
project’s development beyond last week’s two performances, it’s 
important that this sensibility is retained in a version that makes 
Shakespeare look less foreign than ever.

The Herald, December 4th 2012

ends


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