Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron, bubble.
Whilst the actor's dialogue remains traditional in Stuart Lumsden's production of Macbeth, the royal robes and eleventh century garb is replaced with leather, denim and tattoos, with witches donning Gothic attire. Lumsden's Macbeth is the leader of a biker gang, most of whom have served time and are still itching for a fight.
Macbeth is blood-thirsty, shocking, drug and alcohol induced mayhem, which may offend some and beguile others. Some found it difficult to follow and I must admit that the programme added to the confusion of the story of Macbeth by giving characters criminal background stories and referring to the witches as travellers. This makes it tricky to follow when the dialogue addresses characters as Lord, Lady, Sir and refers to dwellings as castles and palaces, and Macbeth aspiring to become the King of Scotland.
Macbeth is a story of ambition and corruption fuelled by supernatural external forces that cast an evil cloud over Macbeth as he digs himself deeper into a hellish pit, murdering anyone who gets in his way. His conniving wife, Lady Macbeth, sets the evil plot rolling by goading Macbeth to kill the King of Scotland and claim the throne for himself. The result is an erosion of her conscience that results in insanity and her ultimate suicide, whilst Macbeth suffers from hallucinations of daggers and ghosts of those he's murdered.
Stand-out performances are given by Tara Page who plays Lady Macbeth, Stuart Lumsden who both directs and plays Macbeth, Kate McNair, Tess Burke and Sasha Cuha who play the witches, James Anderson who plays Macduff and the much admired legend, Joel Beskin, who plays Porter. The whole cast however masterfully play their role most impressively which makes the production well worth attending.
I encourage you to watch the production and rather than mull over the possibility that you won't understand what they're talking about, if you are not a fan of Shakespeare, open yourself up to a new experience and enjoy the journey that the creativity of theatre offers.
There are some magical, although brutal, scenes that are brilliantly directed using strobe lighting and a smoke machine, and there are some confusing scenes that are presented as film clips and tend to throw the balance off. The soundtrack, created by Graham Simpson, is haunting and masterfully effective in enhancing the atmosphere. The set was well crafted by Michael Sutton and helped set the dark and ominous mood of the story.
If you enjoyed Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet, you'll appreciate this rendition of Macbeth. The hard-working, dedicated thespians had no problem captivating the audience with brilliant performances. Expect the unexpected. You'll either like it, or not.