Macbeth: Fringe Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite being advertised as a dance and physical theatre performance, Last Notion’s production comes across more as a piece of classical theatre with added extras. Featuring minimal props and costumes, the show is dependent on the cast creating engaging interpretations of Shakespearian prose; a task it is unable to achieve. With performers split between those that are overly melodramatic and those that massively lack confidence, it’s clear that a longer time spent working on the nuances of the script is needed. The elements of physical theatre seen principally in the portrayal of the three witches and the ghost of Banquo have reasonable potential, and it’s obvious that things would improve with a bit more work.

Greenside, 5 – 12 Aug, 2.50pm (4.05pm), £5.00 – £6.50, fpp173.

tw rating 2/5

Taken from Three Weeks, published online Wed Aug 31st 2011.

Another Macbeth: Fringe Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite its relatively unappealing title, Flatpacktheatre produce a no frills production of Macbeth that aims to get at the heart of the tragedy of regicide and ambition. It’s led by the strange Weyward Sisters who take on the parts of the witches, spirits and lesser characters, bringing the piece together, and filling in the gaps of the protagonists. A relatively efficacious production, it is let down by a certain lack of engagement with the script from a few of the actors, whose grasp of the prose seems uncertain, making their performance seem jilted. This, combined with sluggish technical features, makes this a production that needs to refer back to the original more effectively if it is going to be successful.

Quaker Meeting House, 15 – 20 Aug, 2.15pm (3.45pm), £7.00 – £8.00, fpp238.

tw rating 3/5

Taken from Three Weeks, published online Wed Aug 31st 2011.

Richard III, King’sTheatre, Edinburgh: Review

3/5

Edward Hall’s all-male Shakespeare company, Propeller, have created an engaging production of Richard III, that whilst not conventional, provides a certain alternative spin on the historical classic. Performed in conjunction with The Comedy of Errors, the two plays, although irrevocably contrasted, contain unquestionable similarities. Shakespeare’s histories, often revered as Tudor propaganda, present a means for the bard to explore the British monarchy, although he was somewhat biased due to the restraints placed by his position under the reign of Elizabeth I.

The culmination of his account of the War of the Roses, which he began in Henry VIRichard III illustrates the outcome of the war. It also portrays Richard’s character from his rise to power and subsequent demise and acts as a document examining the collapse of the medieval world.

A difficult play to bring alive on stage due to its constant transition between various settings, Michael Pavelka creates a dystopic vision of a hospital-come-abbatoire that uses medical screens and thick plastic curtains as partitions to transform and effortlessly piece together one scene to the next. Written in a blank verse that comes across as both formal, yet patterned, Richard III portrays its dark subject material with such unequivocal wit that it allows Hall to explore the truisms of its comedy.

Hall does away with Shakespeare’s avoidance of physical violence by accentuating the deaths within the play to the extent that it appears almost reminiscent of a Tarantino film. Whilst the lavishly drawn out scenes of murders involving chainsaws and splattered innards are undeniably entertaining,they cause a detraction in the portend of those moments that require sincerity.

A masked chorus separating the scenes by satirical close harmony pieces arranged by Jon Trenchard creates a chilling juxtaposition of frivolous singing against scenes of a disturbing and sinister nature. A rather slow first half, it comes together in the latter stages where Clothier’s portrayal is truly realised as a compelling exposition of the cruel violence of Richard and the lengths he will go to achieve his goal. As he reaches his summit, the rapid unfurling of his power that culminates in his defeat by Richmond (Richard Hand) clothed from head to toe in white is truly compelling.

Hall’s production is an endearing representation, however, its crass style make it come across as more of an excessive romp than a faithful representation of a Shakespearian history.

Taken from The Journal, published online Sat Apr 23rd 2011.