This week’s tasty offering from Hull New Theatre is the award winning National Theatre performance of that Shakespeare classic “Macbeth” and what a stunning and gripping evening was had by the opening night audience.
Touring after a sell out run in London, it is Hull’s turn to stage this excellent and bold production.
Now this heathen who is not keen on Shakespeare, went along to the opening night accompanied by a friend’s daughter who was studying this play at school. There were many ‘school’ groups there and it helped make a great atmosphere for the night. The said young lady, really enjoyed the show and it gave her a greater understanding of the characters and plot.
On entering the auditorium, as is quite usual these days, the set was already on display. Centre stage was a sloped area which moved from left to right during each scene change in the production. There were also three large poles topped with what looked like a bundle of rags. It was very dark and grey as you would expect for such a play.
Related: See What’s On at Hull New Theatre
The basic story is post bloody Scottish civil war, Macbeth and his lady are fighting to survive. Macbeth comes upon the three witches with a prophecy of murder and sovereignty. In a grab of power, Macbeth kills the King and takes his place. Later, racked by guilt, he loses his mind and hallucinates, seeing those he has murdered in cold blood.
I was fascinated by the three witches who, when they came on, climbed to the top of the poles on stage and posed at the top. They were mesmerising and I couldn’t work out how they could maintain their positions for so long.
Macbeth was superbly and passionately acted by Michael Nardone (The Night Manager, King Lear). He was imposing on stage throughout. Lady Macbeth was played by Kirsty Besterman and together they enthralled the audience with their plotting and later despair. They led the cast superbly.
There were lots of impressive scene changes in the production, all facilitated by the actors. The set was brilliantly designed and it used every part of the stage. The slope part swung from left to right and to centre again. Other scenery slid into place to represent the house of the Macbeth’s and the court of the King. The entire cast were agile as they ran up and down the moving slope part of the stage. Lighting was used to great atmospheric effect.
As I mentioned before I am not a great Shakespeare fan, but he does tell a great story. This production had me gripped all night. There was murder, witchcraft, sword fighting and superb acting on display. I did find that the use of echo for the witches, meant that at times they were difficult to hear.
Should you go and see this production? Definitely! It’s gripping and bold. If you’re studying this for an exam, then certainly go and see it. If you just like The Bard, go and see it, it is a great story that’s brilliantly portrayed.
Some parts are a bit gory; beheading and murders abound, but times were tough and the characters were acted brilliantly by the fabulously talented cast.
Will I go and see another Shakespeare play? Yes, I will. The old chap could be growing on me a little.
Macbeth is showing at Hull New Theatre until this Saturday (9th February). Tickets start from just £11.50 and are available from hulltheatres.co.uk