Right from the harsh, aggressive cacophony of the very opening scene, framed by a stack of corpses, the Third Form production of Macbeth had a deliciously raw intensity to it.
The rhythmic drumbeat provided a sinister soundtrack that maintained the pace and drama alike right through to the bitter end, as Macbeth hurtled to his inevitable doom. The ambient aural background, including ominous percussion, and the moody atmospheric lighting meant the audience remained on the edge of their seats throughout.
Macbeth was suitably complex and Lorcan Read gave a commanding performance as he captured with maturity the journey from loyal soldier who instinctively inspires trust to desperate tyrant. Felix Johnson provided an earthy realism to the manipulative Lady Macbeth and there was assured support from Harry Simmons as Macduff, Alex Evans as Malcolm, Elliot King as the astute Donalbain, and Alex Judge as the gracious Duncan. The witches – James Nicholas, Fraser Williams, and Joel Sellers – were suitably unsettling and unnerving, as they lurked on stage mischievously. The choreography of the fight scenes, the slickness of scene changes, the simplicity of staging, and vibrancy of lighting all added to the poignancy and emotive feel of the play.
Despite the challenges of rehearsal, it was clear that hours of toil and trouble had been invested in this production, where the remorseless rapidity allowed the audience to see Macbeth’s inexorable journey, his rise and inevitable fall. A talented cast delivered verse with an ease and presence not always seen in productions of Shakespeare and as the audience’s sustained applause continued, this impressive production had more than delivered its malicious intentions, with murder and mayhem in abundance. Simple yet terrifyingly effective.