2013 The Little Angel Theatre

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Interpretation

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.

Set

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.

Language

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

Cast

Puppeteers – Claire Harvey, Lori Hopkins, and Lowri James.                                                 Macbeth DSC08848
Macbeth – Nathanial Parker
Lady Macbeth – Helen McCrory
King Duncan – Donald Sumpter
Macduff – Christopher Staines
Brett Brown – Ross
Chris Nayak – Malcom
Steven Maddocks – Banquo.

Creative

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

 

time out   star-rating-4.0 

Daisy Bowie-Sell 

“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.”

 

2013 Trafalgar Studios

2013 Trafalgar Studios

Macbeth Website 1

Interpretation

This production marked the opening of the new Trafalgar Studios and the inaugural Trafalgar Transformed season. Jamie Lloyd chose to set his production in a post-apocalyptic Scotland destroyed by both War and climate change. Having previously appeared in a Shakespeare re-told episode for the BBC as ambitious chef Joe Macbeth Hollywood star James McAvoy took on the lead role of Macbeth. The production had an eerie, sinister feel and presented a violent future Scotland that had reverted to primitive tribalism.

Set

This production was performed in the round with a number of audience members seated on the stage. Audience members were given rain macs to protect their clothes from this Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy fully realised in this production, at one point it even rained blood. Soutra Gilmour’s design suggested modern day but had a squalid, grungy feel. The colour palette was drab and the costumes were heavily soiled. The witches were masked by rubber gas masks while the murderers wore a pigs head and Mekon mask. The design which referenced Mad Max had an industrial feel like a ruined factory and included a dirty toilet (which Macbeth vomited into before murdering Duncan) and a ceiling of broken glass.

 

Macbeth Website 2

Language

Although the action was transferred to a future post apocalyptic setting Jamie Lloyd kept Shakespeare’s original poetic language.

Themes

Jamie Lloyd’s thrilling, visceral production suggested a post-independence Scotland that had fallen into disrepair. The production also hinted that the Macbeth’s murderous ambition is the result of trying to fill the void left by their lost child.                                                                                            Macbeth Production Image 4

Cast and Creative

Cast

Macbeth James McAvoy
Lady Macbeth Claire Foy
Macduff Jamie Ballard
Banquo Forbes Masson
Malcom Mark Quartley

Witch/Murderer/Lady Macduff Allison McKenzie
Witch/Captain/Murderer/Gentlewoman Olivia Morgan
Witch/Seyton Lisa Gardner

Donalbane/ Fleance Graeme Dalling
Lennox Kevin Guthrie
Ross Richard Hansell
Caithness Catherine Murray
Angus Callum O’Neil
Duncan/Doctor Hugh Ross

Creative

Director Jamie Lloyd
Design Soutra Gilmour
Music and Sound Alex Baranowski
Voice and Text Barbara Houseman
Lighting Designer Adam Silverman
Fight Director Kate Waters
Movement Director Ann Yee
Associate Director Ed Stambollouian
Costume Supervisor Anna Josephs

 

Reviews 

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Charles Spencer “there is no doubt that Lloyd’s production, set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland which has been laid waste by war and climate change, packs a powerful punch. The cast are dressed in bedraggled clothes that look like rejects from the Oxfam shop, while the Macbeths’ castle, with an on stage lavatory into which Macbeth pukes violently before killing Duncan, is more squalid that a student flat during the Edinburgh Fringe.”

 

2007 Gielgud Theatre

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Interpretation

Considered by many critics to be the best version of Macbeth they have ever seen, maverick director Rupert Goold’s inspired production set the action in a 1940’s Stalinist tyranny and starred Patrick Stewart as the doomed Macbeth. First seen at Chichester then subsequently in the West End and on Broadway this dark violent production recreated the sense of shock and supernatural horror that Shakespeare’ s audience would have felt when watching the play. Goold referenced everything from gothic horror, to Orwell’s 1984, to film Noir and Quentin Tarrantino.
This production was famed for its ingenuity and the sheer amount of ideas thrown at the classic text. The witches became field hospital nurses killing the victims of battle rather than curing them they later become Macbeth’s sinister household staff. In a stroke of genius the banquet seen is played twice over either side of the interval once from the terrified perspective of Macbeth and once from the farcical perspective of the dinner guests.

Set

Anthony Ward’s white tiled basement set suggested at once an abattoir, hospital, kitchen torture chamber or morgue and was reached by a double grid lift. The production had a Soviet feel and the costumes were very militaristic. The witches apparitions were contained within body bags, Banquo assassinated on a busy train and Lady Macbeth tries to wash her hands under a tap that spurts blood. The white tiles also allowed the shows frequently employed powerful projections to be clearly visible.

Language

Although it was set in more modern times the production stuck to Shakespeare’s original text.

Themes

Goold brought the militaristic nature of Macbeth’s regime to the for.                          CFT Macbeth-401

Cast and Creative

Cast

Macbeth – Patrick Stewart
Lady Macbeth – Kate Fleetwood
Macduff – Michael Feast
Malcom – Scot Handy
Banquo – Martin Turner
Duncan/ A Scottish Doctor – Paul Shelley
Witch/Gentlewoman – Polly Frame
Witch – Niamh McGrady
Witch – Laura Rees
Ross – Tim Treloar
Lennox – Mark Rawlings
Angus – Bill Nash
Lady Macduff – Suzanne Burden
Porter/Seyton – Christopher Patrick Nolan
Donalbain/Young Seyward – Ben Carpenter
Old Seyward/Murderer – Christopher Knott
Bloody Sergeant – Hywel John
Lady Macbeth’s Servant – Oliver Birch

Creative

Director Rupert Goold
Music and Sound Designer Adam Cork
Designer Anthony Ward
Lighting Designer Howard Harrison
Video and Projection Designer Lorna Heavey
Fight Director Georgina Lamb
Fight Director Terry King

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Charles Spencer “It makes almost every other show in London seem tame and audiences will surely fall upon it with relish.There is barely a longueur in Goold’s three-hour production, which is almost indecently packed with inspired ideas…. seeing Goold’s thrilling staging for the second time I remain convinced that this is the greatest production of Macbeth I have ever seen.”

1976 Royal Shakespeare Company

Interpretation 

The RSC have performed numerous productions of Macbeth over the years however Trevor Nunn’s 1976 production stands out for the dream pairing of Ian McKellen and Judi Dench as the Macbeth’s. It was first performed in The Other Place a black box theatre near to the RSC’s theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The secrets to this production’s success were the intimate setting and the simplicity of the staging which really highlighted the psychological dynamics of the characters. The production played 2 hours and 15 minutes straight through without an interval. It was so well received it transferred to the Donmar Warehouse and then to the larger space of The Young Vic. A television version was even made.

Set

The set was kept minimal. A bare wooden floor with a circle drawn on it and a circular pool of light. This was reminiscent of a magic circle and complemented the supernatural elements within the play. The rest of the space was kept very dark as were the costumes so the actors appeared to emerge from the darkness.

Language

Shakespeare’s text was used although it was probably slightly abridged because of the shorter running time.

Themes

This production highlighted the opposites within the play for example Christian vs Pagan, Man vs Woman, Reality vs Illusion etc. The production was considered by many to be terrifying.

Cast and Creative list

Cast

Macbeth Ian McKellen
Lady Macbeth Judi Dench
Macduff Bob Peck
Banquo John Woodvine
Malcolm Roger Rees
Duncan Griffith Jones
1st Witch Marie Kean
2nd Witch/Gentlewoman Judith Harte
3rd Witch/Lady Macduff Susan Dury
Donalbain/Seyton Greg Hicks
Sergeant/1st Murderer/Doctor David Howey
Ross/Porter Ian McDairmid
Lennox John Bowen
Angus Duncan Preston
Fleance/Messenger Zak Taylor
Young Macduff Stephen Warner

Creative

Director Trevor Nunn
Designer John Napier
Lighting Leo Leibovici
Music Guy Woolfenden

the-guardian-110x80  star-rating-5.0

Michael Billington “Trevor Nunn’s intimate revival in The Other Place took the curse off this notoriously difficult play. Ian McKellen’s Macbeth showed murderous ambition bursting through the soldierly mask like a clown through a paper hoop; and Judi Dench’s Lady Macbeth was no painted Gorgon but a startled novice dabbling in satanic powers. A great production that reclaimed the play for the modern age.”