Search

Theatre review: Macbeth at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre

16:36 04 July 2012

Macbeth at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Macbeth at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Archant

Scooby Doo outfits, camp transvestite witches and slapstick can be a distraction in this new production

»The New London Company commendably tries to make this Macbeth fresh and fun for the contemporary crowd at Kentish Town’s Lion and Unicorn. With roughly an hour each side of the interval, the action’s delivered at a frenetic pace.

Ben Kavanagh’s Macbeth is a fairly ordinary bloke. He lacks presence, and I guess you could say comes across weak physically as well as morally, which is in keeping with the text. Lady Macbeth ridicules him, for example, for not being man enough for the murderous job in hand.

But right from the start, this production tries to find and emphasize funny elements that aren’t necessarily there in this dark, bloody tragedy. Others may disagree, but too often slapstick scenes in this re-interpretation of Shakespeare’s Scottish play were a bit much. The tone felt wrong at key moments, making Macbeth less gripping than it actually is.

Comedic props like a Scream mask and Spiderman and Scooby Doo outfits were a distraction from the thrust of the drama, making it harder to follow. The fast pace similarly meant the actors sometimes hurried their lines, which were hard to make out.

In the case of the famous witches, Banquo’s reference to bearded women is taken to its comic extreme by portraying them as camp, heavily made-up bearded transvestites. Fun, I agree, but the weird sisters lost much of their scary power by becoming so laughable. One even ad libs “ooh, whoopsy-daisy!” as she giggles and skips off stage.

Likewise, Lady Macbeth’s chilling “unsex me here” soliloquy – in which she begs evil spirits to fill her with “direst cruelty” – seemed more like another comic interlude than terrifying pivotal plot moment. Natasha McClure plays her as posh and slightly dippy. After this speech she exited the stage clumsily picking up her bags, sock in mouth – played for laughs, to which many in the audience duly responded.

Full marks for effort and likeability, but this version lacks weight and depth.

* Macbeth is at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Gaisford Street, NW5, until July 8, 2012.

0 comments

Latest Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 06:10
Grayson Perry poses in front of 'Comfort Blanket' during a photocall for his Channel 4 series Who Are You? at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Disgraced MP Chris Huhne, a female-to-male transsexual, a white Muslim convert and reality TV star Rylan Clark are among the subjects of a new set of portraits by Grayson Perry exploring the nature of identity.

Wed, 14:43
The wonderful interior of Bourne and Hollingsworth

Anyone who’s been to one of the elegant yet raucous Blitz or Prohibition parties will know that Bourne and Hollingsworth, a new restaurant from the same team, is likely to be a stylish, aesthetically pleasing evening if nothing else.

Inside United Ramen - Kris Piotrowski

United Ramen is the latest pioneer championing an increasingly popular Japanese dish which outsells sushi in Tokyo, and has taken New York by storm.

Most read entertainment

Biffo and Bobo better stay away from the town of Vendargues this Halloween.

As a state of emergency is declared in Burkina Faso, what does the future hold for its president and people?

It might not be moving very fast but it’s still causing problems.

After staging an Ebola-themed night, a nightclub has been forced to make an apology after hundreds complained about the tasteless event.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition