Skip to main content

The Macbeths

Dundee Rep
Four stars

The bloody handprints on the side of the messed-up bedroom speak volumes about the secrets kept hidden there at the start of the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow’s ferociously intimate 80-minute slicing up of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. As the title of dramaturg France Poet and director Dominic Hill’s truncated rendering suggests, Hill’s production focuses solely on the play’s dangerously ambitious couple. Revived quickly for this touring version following its gripping debut in the Citz’s now derelict Circle Studio in 2017, it is no less unflinching in its study of the private pillow talk behind the public smiles.

Charlene Boyd returns to the role of Lady Macbeth, by turns calculating and unhinged, in agony as much as mourning as she attempts to get beyond the darkness she and her partner in crime have created for themselves. Joining her as Macbeth, Lucianne McEvoy presents an equally damaged figure, who is just as vulnerable to the extremes both go to as a kind of coping mechanism, clinging to each other for comfort as they fall.

The dynamic between the two makes for something that feels less frenetic than before. It remains just as urgent, but seems to have more space to breathe in the stark gloom of Stuart Jenkins’ lighting. This by turn makes it even more psychologically compelling. With the Macbeths exposed in warts-and-all close-up and haunted by recordings of unspeakable acts, the full consequences of the couple’s actions are laid bare.

Like murderous lovers on the run whose desperation to fill the void went too far, even though they’re holed-up in their bedroom like fugitives, they each occupy their own even more private sphere, climbing the walls to their own self-destruction. Sleep, when it finally comes, is a relief unlikely to last long in a production that simmers towards its damning conclusion.

The Herald, October 5th 2018

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …