Posts with the label william shakespeare
Showing posts with label william shakespeare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label william shakespeare. Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Macbeth, National Theatre | Review

Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 6th March 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

I've seen and studied a fair few Shakespeare plays but I wouldn't say I'm an expert in any form. I do however, know what I like when going to the theatre and recognise brilliant acting when I see it. The National Theatre's current production of Macbeth does have brilliant acting but overall it just didn't do it for me.

Walking into the wonderful Olivier theatre we are greeted with an almost bare stage, there are four poles with ragged, witchy fabric attached to the top; in the centre there is a sloped wooden platform decorated with severed limbs from plastic baby toys. Rae Smith's minimalistic set works well with the sparse life of the characters within the show; with them all (including Duncan and Macbeth) looking as though they're on the poverty line in muddy, battered clothes.

Rory Kinnear is thoughtful and suitably plagued as Macbeth; his small comedic moments are particularly enjoyable and he proves why he's such an esteemed actor.  

The choice to make Alana Ramsey's Murderer a fishnet tights-clad alcoholic is a great one and she works very well to show the extents which people will go to when they feel they have nothing, just to get their fix or some quick cash.

Trevor Fox's alcoholic Porter is like a ghost moving around, silently hearing all the secrets he shouldn't know. It's refreshing to see him as a more serious, important character rather than mainly being onstage for comedic relief. This darker side emphasises him as the metaphor for the gates of hell, something which I feel is often missed in productions of Macbeth.

It's Anne-Marie Duff who steals the show as Lady Macbeth. Every movement is clearly well thought out and her transition from the headstrong wife who lacks humanity to the crumbling woman plagued by ghosts is striking. 

I didn't find anything specifically wrong with this production, I just didn't really feel, well, anything. It's not scary, it's not particularly gory, it's not emotional and it's not funny, it's just a bit uninspiring. There are elements which have brought Shakespeare's play into the modern world but the emotions didn't translate for a modern audience... at least for me.

If you're a Shakespeare fan then there's no reason why you shouldn't go and judge Rufus Norris' Macbeth for yourself but if not then I wouldn't rush along, as I don't think this is the production to make you a fan.

Macbeth runs at the National Theatre until June 23rd and will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on May 10th as part of NT Live.

photo credit: Brinkhoff Mögenburg

Macbeth, National Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Winter's Tale, Barbican | Review

The Winter's Tale
Reviewed on Thursday April 4th 2017 by Esther Matthews

As an avid Shakespeare lover I am always a little tentative to see a new production of the classic tale but I was pleasantly surprised by Cheek by Jowl theatre companies take on The Winter’s Tale.  It was simple, funny and emotional.

With very minimal set it was a little worrying to step into the theatre and find two very simple pieces on stage but that fear vanished as soon as I realised someone was sitting on the stage, back to the audience and perfectly still. There was a sense of excitement from the audience as they came in to discover this figure. As she left the stage the lights when out and the play began. The lighting and sound engineering blew me away, with a simple set you needed something to set it apart and these two things combined were it. Your mind wasn’t allowed a second to rest, there was always something new to capture your attention. 

I particularly enjoyed the musical aspect of the piece. Paddy Cunneen did a brilliant job of adding in just the right amount of music to set the tone of the piece. There were live instruments being played throughout and even songs written for the play. 

I don’t think I can pick a cast member that didn’t keep up physically and emotionally. The energy on the stage was electric from the off. Orlando James marvelled in the lead role, his energy alone could have sustained the whole piece. 

My only slight worry is that the company knew the piece a little too well. There were some moments where the choreographed movement was a little too perfect, it took away from the delusion in the king’s mind. There needed to be a sense of discovery which didn’t quite happen in some scenes. 

I highly recommend seeing The Winters Tale. Director Declan Donnellan brings a modern and fascinating twist to one of Shakespeare’s latest plays and does it beautifully. So much heart is put into the production, you will be overflowing when you leave the theatre. 

The Winter's Tale runs at the Barbican until April 22nd

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

The Winter's Tale, Barbican | Review

Saturday, 8 April 2017