MACBETH - THE MUSICAL (september 3rd - 7th 2019)

★★★★½

This is a very very funny and very relevant show from Stage Splinters. I loved the witches and the rapping, the original words and music. 

The four-strong cast were all equally multi-talented and excellent puppeteers. Elliott Moore portrayed a very impressionable and laid-back Macbeth to Eloise Jones’s ambitious and manipulative Lady M. The other Shakespearean characters took more of a back seat whilst the servants Rose (Bryony Reynolds - who also played King Duncan), and Conleth (Red Picasso – who also played Macduff and Banquo) established their own sub plots and used their inferior positions in the Macbeth household to commentate on what was going on. I know Macbeth – the play – is a tragedy but it was acted out in such a tongue-in-cheek and ironic way, that I found Rose’s tale a bit jarring, although it was sung superbly by Reynolds.

Co-writers Chuma Emembolu, who also directed the show, and Ruth Nicolas’ interpretation of the story made light of the murder and violence contained in the original plot but wanted the audience to be seriously shocked and appalled by Rose being sold into servitude by her father and later raped by Macduff. This was the only part of this very clever production that didn’t sit well with me. I appreciate that the juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy is very much part of how Shakespeare both diffused and reinforced the darkness in his plays, and this version transported the Macbeths and their entourage into the twenty-first-century. But with singing puppets?

 

—  Deborah Jeffries, Reviewer - London pub theatres

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