Macbeth: A Tale of Sound and Fury –  The Hope Theatre Until 20th February

★★★★★

Review by Sarah Tinsley

Bursting with energy from the beginning, 6FootStories eerie adaptation of Macbeth makes the tragic tale at once a sadistic enjoyment and a black comedy. Told through the mouths of three male actors, we see an unexpected side to the Scottish villain, and the power of the supernatural that taunts him to his own demise.

The setting is delightfully shabby. Walls papered with cardboard, bits of foil, trinkets, tarot cards stuck to the wall, all inspired by The Gypsy Lodge – an interactive festival experience where you bring your talents or your stuff to trade. Throughout the performance a crown is lifted from a sieve, a guitar is brought out, a wheelbarrow is used as percussion and a stuffed monkey plays a key role. This clutter gives it a circus edge, revealing the parody of performance.

Initially, it seemed as though it would be a fairly straightforward portrayal of the play. The language used is the same, delivered with bite. Yet things are not all as they seem. The three sorcerers are playing a gleeful game, inhabiting the consciousness of each part in order to paint the picture of the Thane’s grisly end.

What that means is that each actor plays pretty much all of the characters. It’s so hard to choose my favourite. Nigel Munson’s Macbeth is grisly, while his Duncan was a doddering old man, and his Lady Macbeth a surprisingly sexual powerhouse. Jake Hassam was a noble and proud Duncan and a wheedling Macbeth, while Will Bridges’ Macbeth was a lost and distressed man. We see the multi-faceted nature of all of these characters thrust into each portrayal, with a clever use of simple costume markers to signify which character we were looking at. The energy they all exude, along with their individual personality quirks, brings something fresh to a well-heeled play.

It’s also great fun. Some of the scenes shift into puppetry, or modernity, or in one place, a downright bacchanal. This brings humour to a tragedy I’ve always loved, with several moments that are usually perceived as dreadful producing genuine laughter from the audience. Some might find it a little surreal, but the close quarters you experience it in adds to the suspension of disbelief.

A mention must go to stage manager Zinta Gerçans, whose lighting cues often relied on individual words in a speech. The fact that you could barely notice her presence is testament to how well she pulled it off.

If you are already a fan of Shakespeare, you’ll love it. If you’re not sure about the bard but appreciate a humorous and vigorous performance, you’ll enjoy it too.

Macbeth: A Tale of Sound and Fury – The Hope Theatre Until 20th February

★★★★★

Review by Sarah Tinsley

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