London’s premier puppet theatre The Little Angel normally makes shows for children. This production marked one of their first forays into the world of adult puppetry. Artistic director of The Little Angle Theatre Peter Glanville chose to highlight the bird like imagery of the text recasting the characters as birds appropriate to their personalities. The show accompanied by James Hesford’s gothic score explored the visual language of the text.
Peter O´Rourke and Nele de Craecker’s set consisted of wooden planks and platforms that represented Macbeth’s castle. This structure could be pulled apart and gave way for the final coup de theatre. Stick puppets of falcons attached to wooden trees are revealed that the puppeteers draw forward until they surround Macbeth and Birnam wood literally comes to Dunsinane.
Lyndie Wright’s puppets were part bird part human. Macbeth was a cockerel, Lady Macbeth a chicken and King Duncan a swan. The witches begin the show by taking strings from a mountain of wool making them reminiscent of the fates.
Although they used Shakespeare’s original language with a running time of just 90 minutes the text had been abridged. The text was edited to highlight the many bird references contained within it – a surprising amount. The sound of the actor’s voices was pre-recorded.
Cast and Creative
Puppeteers – Claire Harvey, Lori Hopkins, and Lowri James.
Macbeth – Nathanial Parker
Lady Macbeth – Helen McCrory
King Duncan – Donald Sumpter
Macduff – Christopher Staines
Brett Brown – Ross
Chris Nayak – Malcom
Steven Maddocks – Banquo.
Director – Peter Glanville
Puppet Designer –Lyndie Wright
Lighting Designer –David Duffy
Costume Designer –Keith Frederick
Composer –James Hesford
Set and Prop makers – Peter O´Rourke and Nele de Craecker
Set Construction – Simon Plumridge
Puppet makers –Lyndie Wright, Rebekah Wild, Jan Zalud, and Chloe Purcell
Stage Manager – Sarah Cowan
“Peter Glanville’s production – his final for Little Angel before he steps down as artistic director – is impossibly haunting and dark. It’s helped no end by James Hesford’s strikingly atmospheric music which includes moments of folk, dramatic strings and heavy booming base and regularly evokes the inner turmoil of the birds.”