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William Shakespeare's Macbeth - Review

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by Sue Hinchey (subscribe)
A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me or
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Macbeth, murder, mayhem and a bit of magical madness

Double double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble". Tossing a few poisoned entrails, eye of newt and toe of frog into a bubbling cauldron while pondering the man who would be king, the three sibylline Wyrd sisters (or witches if you like, but let's not call them that here) almost steal the show in Factory Space Theatre's interpretation of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. I was delighted to attend the opening performance, currently showing at Star of the Sea Theatre in Manly. With minimal props, lighting and sound, Director Roz Riley has created an actor-focused production, honouring the original storyline while allowing the actors to bring some interesting personality slants to the fore.

Opening the first act in bloodied outfits and a curious demeanour, the sisters are mulling over their next prophecy and who should be tested by it. A simple throne fills the stage, and a backdrop of changing images (courtesy of one of the witches, E. Strange) places the spectator on the drawbridge, immediately immersing them in the play's goings on. Throughout the scenes, the actors make full use of the aisles, and this adds to the audience's 'participation' and feeling part of the castle's crowd.

It's been many years since I studied Shakespeare's work and I recall the original 'Macbeth' tells the story of the Scottish King Duncan. His two generals - Macbeth and Banquo - have recently had success on the battlefield and, as they return home, encounter three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will become King of Scotland, and Banquo will beget a line of Scottish Kings, creating an inevitable chain of events that involve murder, betrayal, jealous rage, revenge and an uncertain outcome.

With such simple staging, lighting, sound and props, the characters become the focus. Stand-out performances for me were Kurtis Wakefield (Macbeth), who betrayed a man of passion and purpose, but lacking the wisdom and discernment to not be carried away by the agenda of the women in his life, resulting in an unflattering downfall. Michela Carattini (Lady Macbeth) does wonderful justice to her role has Macbeth's lover and wife. Bored with her current position, she seizes the opportunity to encourage her husband on a murderous track, ultimately bringing about her own mental demise. Penelope Berkemeier's (sister, Harpier the Owl) mischievous curiosity pushes the play along, bouncing off strong performances of those around her, and adding a quirky lightness to the theme of murder and mayhem. Micky Rose (Duncan, monarch of Scotland) is quietly stoic but the emotionally-charged portrayal of the role is thought-provoking and proud, determined to defeat unruly ambition and tyranny.

The Factory Space Theatre Company shines with its unique and innovative style of production, interweaving the texture of relationships with the physical surroundings. Performances continue until the 29th July, 2017, with matinees at 2pm on 16th and 23rd July. Special offers and more information is available on their website. To book click here. Comfortable seating, nearby restaurants and plenty of off-street parking adds appeal to one of the northern beaches most popular theatre venues (within Stella Maris School).
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*Sue Hinchey was invited as a guest
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Why? Theatre Macbeth
When: 14 - 29 July 2017
Phone: 02-9439 1906
Where: Star of the Sea Theatre, Stella Maris College, 52 Eurobin Ave, Manly NSW 2095
Cost: $35/$28
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