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Filter's Macbeth

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars
When what looks like a bunch of black and grey clad technicians huddle
around a bank of home-made electronic instruments at the centre of an
otherwise bare stage to make assorted retro-futurist beeps and bloops
worthy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the penny drops that sound and
fury will most likely be at the heart of the Filter company's
seventy-five minute truncation of Shakespeare's Scottish play.

As it is, this follow-up to the company's take on the far frothier
Twelfth Night, which toured to the Citizens last year, is an oddly
restrained affair, in which any eerieness in the collectively created
co-production with Bristol's Tobacco Factory comes from Tom Haines'
soundtrack. Here an ever rolling set of witches culled from the cast of
seven become the show's house band, ghosts in the machine both driving
and manipulating the action as they tune in on it like some diabolical
branch of the Stasi or GCHQ. Poppy Miller's quietly driven Lady Macbeth
listens in too, seeming to have bugged her would-be king in an unspoken
conspiracy fired by surveillance culture.

While Lady M draws cartoon hearts in red marker pen on Duncan's bare
torso, Ferdy Roberts' be-denimed Macbeth is privy to the play's
inevitable denouement when he's passed a dog-eared copy of Brodie's
Notes. He gets to snog both Lady M and Banquo playing Blind Man's Buff
at his coronation feast, though when Lady Macbeth fills a line of
fun-size goody bags with crisps, Coke and cheesy Wotsits, it more
resembles a hipsters tea party. All of which certainly signifies
something in this youthful reading of the play, even if its makers
don't always know what.

The Herald, January 22nd 2015



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