Thursday, 26 September 2013

MacBheatha

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars
TV monitors flash up night camera images of war at the start of Ian 
MacDonald's sixty-five minute Gaelic translation of Shakespeare's 
Scottish play, directed by Liz Carruthers. It's not the only modern 
conceit for a production that puts just two people onstage as the 
murderous couple at the heart of the play. The three witches that drive 
the MacBheathas ambition are beamed in via the screens, as are the 
spectral projections of Banquo's ghost. Daibhidh Walker's brutish 
MacBheatha, meanwhile, arranges assorted murders from his newly 
acquired throne via a mobile phone.

The result of this, as Catriona Lexy Chaimbeul's initially languid but 
soon to be steely NicBheatha takes her husband's opening call from her 
bed is a kind of dance, in which the pair's sexually charged alliance 
is swept aside by a McBheatha more interested in power for himself 
alone. Chaimbeul  even sports a scarlet and black flamenco style outfit 
as MacBheatha flings NicBheatha's sleeping form from his throne to 
claim it as his own.

Carruthers' production, originally commissioned by Glasgow Life and 
co-produced by Walker, has been developed considerably since a 
thirty-minute work in progress played in the Tron Theatre's Victorian 
Bar last year with just Walker onstage. Whether it will be fleshed out 
even further remains to be seen, although, as inventive as this paring 
down remains in a production pulsed by a martial, drum-led soundtrack, 
there is probably one phone call too many.

Even so, arriving hard on the heels of Perth Theatre's macho take on 
Shakespeare's play, which visits the Tron next month, Carruthers, 
MacDonald and co have gone some considerable way to bring the Scottish 
play home even more.

The Herald, September 26th 2013

ends

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