Director: Rufus Norris
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Rory Kinnnear, Anne-Marie Duff, Kevin Harvey, Stephen Boxer, Trevor Fox, Hannah Hutch, Anna-Maria Nabirye, Beatrice Scirocchi, Parth Thakerar, Patrick O’Kane,
Seen on: 10.5.2018
[Here are my reviews of other takes on Macbeth.]
Macbeth (Rory Kinnear) and Banquo (Kevin Harvey) just fought successfully for King Duncan (Stephen Boxer) and are finally on their way home. In the woods, they meet three witches who predict, among other things, that Macbeth will become King. Spurred on by that prophecy and uncontent to just wait for it to come true, Macbeth and his wife (Anne-Marie Duff) hatch the plan to help things along when Duncan comes to visit. But murder comes with moral consequences – and it might not be the only thing necessary to make Macbeth King.
This version of Macbeth has its strong moments and I have definitely seen worse productions, but I’ve also seen better.
They did some trimming of Shakespeare’s play, which is definitely not a mistake. Nevertheless, it did take a while to find its groove. As it goes with that kind of thing, I did end up missing a few things that were cut. In particular, I felt that Lady Macbeth got kind of lost in this version of the play. Of course, I can’t say for certain if it was the cuts or the directing (I don’t think it was Duff’s performance), but I wanted to see more of Lady Macbeth.
Kinnear was a great Macbeth and manages to be very present. But my personal favorite in this production was Patrick O’Kane as Macduff. For me, he really cut to the heart of the character and his performance was beautiful to watch.
The stage design was okay, but didn’t blow me away. The play was at its strongest when it cut a little loose and leaned into the fantastical elements of the story, like when it uses the masks. Or when it features the Witches who were really awesome. They made all kinds of creepy sounds (must have been exhausting for the actresses) and it worked very well.
Ultimately, though, the production falls just short of the mark, despite its good qualities. Maybe it would have worked better if it had been longer since I’d last seen a production of Macbeth (although I say that given the complete absence of a countdown in this production, it was the better of the two), but as is, it just left me shrugging.