Monday, 2 May 2016

Told by an idiot

And so to the theatre. I have been to see Macbeth, one of the many Shakespeare productions popping up all over the place to commemorate the fact that he's dead. There were one or two nice directorial touches, the main parts were well acted and overall I enjoyed it. The witches stayed on stage pretty much all the way through, a device which I've seen before, but one which worked well here. They were also in the auditorium prior to curtain up, which didn't work as well. I felt particularly sorry for the ushers who were constantly turfing them out of seats so that the punters could sit down. I hope this isn't a developing trend; let's not have them them pulling pre-performance pints in the bar as part of a future director's vision. However, I did like the accentuated eroticism of the Macbeths' relationship.

Shakespeare wrote for the actors he had in the company and there is some logic in the part of the porter being played by the same actor as played Bottom in the recent Dream. Only some because while Kempe was almost certainly the original Bottom, he had been fired (possibly for repeatedly going off script) and had danced his way to Norwich by the time Macbeth was written. Shakespeare was on top form when writing the part of Bottom the Weaver, with inspiration for his target - actors' egos - presumably all around him. The porter in Macbeth is thin stuff however, and the same comic style that proved a success the other week simply came across as one-dimensional here. It was, oddly enough for a play set in Scotland, as if being from Northern England is supposed to be funny in itself; which, take my word for it, it isn't.

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