[20020065] Macbeth


this Rough Magic theatre & film @ Adelaide Gaol

9:00pm, Mon 11 Mar 2002

Score: 8

Short Review: Blood & Gore

Me, I’m a big fan of Macbeth. Ever since I was introduced to it through “The Young Ones” all those years ago (“All hail McVyvyan, Thane of the Outside Toilet, and that little gravelly patch next to the garden shed”), then got the real thing in Year 11 at school, I’ve always thought that this was the Bard’s best work. Thus, I feel compelled to check out any Macbeth productions that come to town. And, having seen Rough Magic’s previous Fringe productions (“The Tempest” in ’98, “Richard II” in 2000), I thought that this would be a good bet.

Most of the familiar Rough Magic crew returned for this production, and (as with “Richard II“) there was a geurilla military motif. Set inside the old Adelaide Gaol, sets were suitably sparse, and the upper storey of the backround building was effectively used to whip through the action of Acts IV and V. Unfortunately, the outdoor venue suffered a little from passing trains and planes, and the audience suffers from a bit of wind chill too (so rug up).

Performances were good all round – Dana Miltins was a delightfully devious (and franticly insane) Lady Macbeth with a Little Black Dress to die for. Sheanna Maine was a great Ross, and Rockwell Csorba’s Macduff was superb. Unfortunately, the only flailing performance was that of Macbeth himself – Peter Davies seems to have taken the emotional cues for his character from Act III, and so we see nothing of Macbeth’s descent into madness.

The direction of this production was also good – there were some well-executed biffo scenes, and the portrayal of the witches as members of the media was amusingly sweet. The use of pre-recorded images on the gaol wall was interesting – those at the beginning of the piece were useful as background material, but the latter recordings added little. Still, they’re relatively minor gripes – and the failings of Davies’ performance doesn’t have the impact on the production that one might imagine. This is well worth a look, and Rough Magic’s best work to date.

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