Thursday, 15 September 2016

Theatre Review- Macbeth, performed by Act Three Theatre

Title: Macbeth
Writer: William Shakespeare
Performed by: Act Three Theatre
Major cast: Josh Beecham, Ned Walkely, Simon Morgan
Seen at: Paradise in the Vault, Edinburgh Fringe
Summary: An exciting new take on William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Using the original language but set in a young offenders’ prison, it is bold, fast-paced, and performed entirely with a cast of three.

Review: The story of Macbeth is performed by three actors and set in a modern young offender's prison. I wanted to see this show because Macbeth, multiroling, and a vastly different setting to its original-what more could I ask for?
We open with Macbeth holding a titlecard/ID card, presumably having a mugshot taken, then an opening physical sequence with some impressive stage fighting to set the scene. Then the play develops in its new setting, where guards are witches and kingship is represented by a dressing gown and a paper crown.
The setting works well for the most part, prison hierarchies being a good new setting for kingdoms, and the costumes suited the production, but I did wonder where is Malcolm going when he announces leaves for England, if he's meant to be locked up.
The cast are all really good. My favourite thing about it though was the doubling, because, while necessary with three characters, makes some good links between the characters- Simon Morgan playing both Duncan and Banquo, the two direct victims of Macbeth's ambition, Ned Wakely playing both Lady Macbeth and Banquo's murderer (I know they kept Macbeth's line "Be innocent of the knowledge", but it just got me thinking of how cool it might have been if they'd kept the implication that she killed Banquo), and also Josh Beecham saying the Doctor's words in the sleepwalking scene, while still (I think) being Macbeth, adding a different, kind of caring, spin on him.
I don't know if it was intentional, but the lighting in the "Is this a dagger I see" scene and the banquet scene made the actors' eyes look black, demonic, which went well with those scenes.
The editing of the script is amazing. I think we ended slightly before the advertised hour, but the major plot points were all conveyed. Also, so much love for the delivery of "Birnam" just before the attack on Macbeth. The twist and wordplay and cleverness of getting around the prophecy was just...yes.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a fast, intense version of Macbeth.
Links: Company


  1. This makes me Wish I could've seen it at Edinburgh, never mind, there's always next year!

  2. A very good article. Thank you!


Thanks for taking time to read this!
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Nina xxx

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