MACBETH

2 Jul

Macbeth at St Paul’s Churchyard, Covent Garden
Iris Production
“Who would have thought the Old man to have so much blood in him.”
Well we certainly saw plenty of it spattered over members of the cast in this intelligent and entertaining production of Macbeth directed by Daniel Winder in the normally serene gardens of the Actors Church
I have heard it said ‘Doctor Winder loves Blood’ well he certainly does, and you can be sure that there will be plenty of it mingled with the poetry in all his Shakespeare tragedies. It is helpful that Daniel Winder’s wife is a brilliant historian and between them they extract every ounce of psychological meaning from the script. Barbara Winder also writes a dissertation in the programme about how and why Shakespeare was so inspired and how he captured the mood of the people at that time
Richard the Third was a triumph a couple of years ago and this is an unbeatable production of the Scottish play. Every line has been carefully worked upon so that we are totally in the head of everyone who speaks it. Of course, David Hywel Baynes, one of our best Shakespeare actors absolutely inhabits the mind of Macbeth like no one I have ever seen before and his beautiful lady played by Mogali Masuku uses her enormous charm to help fire her furious ambition. At the start of the play when MacB is a conquering hero and she his loving wife, there is acute sexual feeling between them and their great love is highly convincing. It is all more heartrending to see how his ambition and hers destroys them along with their loving relationship.
The most extraordinary scene is set not in the garden but inside the actual church. The banquet scene when Macbeth confronts the ghost of murdered Banquo really chills the blood is set within the surroundings of the exquisite Inigo Jones church. The scene is really terrifying as the ghost comes and goes as if by magic and seen only by Macbeth whose reaction is that of a screaming uncontrolled madman. As we leave through the anteroom of the church there is even more horror to behold.
The creation of the witches has a touch of genius about it. These are creatures which would be more familiar to Dr Who than to MacB and Banquo. One of them is a giant figure on stilts who dominates the action from the beginning of the play. In the original the witches would have been invented to cause feelings of unease and perhaps fear to the members of the audience So it is appropriate in the modern day that they resemble characters from outer space.
This is a Macbeth like no other. It is a promenade production which moves us around many of the gorgeously landscaped gardens surrounding the Actors Church.

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