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