The Questors Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’ focuses on the supernatural elements of the play, in a seemingly timeless setting. The stark and simple staging uses minimal colour and props to focus attention on the characters themselves. A primarily grey set evokes a stark and bleak environment for Shakespeare’s characters. The use of sharp, broken lines also suggests that all is not in order here. A white mist drifts across the stage and gives an ominous feeling that seems appropriate for Shakespeare’s tragedy.
As Macbeth, Richard Graylin is a strong and authoritative leader, and his bond with Banquo (Scott Drummond) seems natural and sincere. His moments of uncertainty and hesitation also make him seem a well-rounded and believable character, and he gradually turns into someone who will commit murder for power and gain. His wife Lady Macbeth (Nina Flitman) is both highly emotional and manic in turn, and her changeable nature is in keeping with her descent into madness.
The production contains several aspects that make it visually striking for the audience. When Lady Macbeth enters after Duncan’s murder, her hands are covered in bright red blood, which transfers partly onto Macbeth’s hands and shows they are both complicit in the king’s death. Later, when Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and trying to rub the spot of blood from her hands, her white nightdress seems pure and innocent, with her appearance at odds with what she has done.
As the witches Claudia Carroll, Jolene Howorth and Elena Zagaglia were menacing and mysterious, and their entrance at the start a suitable Gothic introduction to the production. Also good was Christian Search as Malcolm, in his first performance with the Questors Theatre.
There were some elements that detracted slightly from my enjoyment of the production. At times sight lines were blocked for the audience, which made it harder to see what was happening. There were also occasions when some lines were unclear and slightly inaudible, but this was far less of a problem in the second half.
Overall, a suitably mysterious and menacing Macbeth.
Review by Amanda Blake
The Questors present
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Dark tragedy of ambition, betrayal and murder
Macbeth learns from three witches a prophecy that he is destined for the throne of Scotland. Spurred on by his ruthless wife, Macbeth murders first one, then another of the people standing between him and his greatest ambition. It’s a journey into profoundest evil, a compelling psychological drama, until the witches’ prophecy delivers its final, lethal twist. Shakespeare’s great tragedy is an enduring narrative of political greed, power and personal destruction.
Suitable for ages 12+
Contains violence and loud sound effects
31st January to 7th February 2015
12 Mattock Lane, Ealing, London W5 5BQ
Sunday 1st February 2015