Thursday, 1 October 2015

"Macbeth" by Ravenshead Theatre Group
Ravenshead Village Hall.

This is the first time that Ravenshead Theatre Group have attempted a Shakespeare play, and from tonight's performance, I hope that it won't be their last. Shakespeare has been done in many different ways from the outright outlandish to the faithful; this production veered more towards the faithful but with modern twists, and it really worked well.

We all know the story of the "Scottish Play", of greed and murder, of witches and ghosts, of madness and mystique, and being one of Shakespeare's shorter tragedies, it was an ideal choice for the group to start from.

From the start with the "ghostly" silhouettes of the the three wicked sisters aka The Witches of the piece, through to the appearance of the murdered Banquo at Macbeth's banquet, the RTG keep the uneasy supernatural feeling running through till the end. Top marks for the make up as well; Banquo's "zombie-ghost" look was quite unnerving!

Richard Kinnaird as Macbeth was coolly evil as the initiator of the murders. ensuring that he climbed the ladder of success by eliminating the King and then anyone else who upset him. His speeches sounded very natural to him in his Shakespearian tongue.

Lady Macbeth, played by Lindsey Parr, was sexy and sassy and again seemed to find no issues with the Shakespearian script, producing a confident and powerful performance.

The three witches, Mandy Buckley, Lucy Buckley and Olivia Stringer were seductive and dangerous, and I loved the way that they kept in character even up to the final bows, never cracking a smile through the applause.

Several other mentionable performances including Macduff, played by Aaron Connelly, who's trod the boards in Nottingham several times in the past and adds this performance, and his first major role in a Shakespearian tragedy, to his roster.

I must also mention Ann-Marie Butler as Lady Macduff whose screams as she was being dragged off and butchered were the most realistic screams I've heard. Ann-Marie really gave it some welly.

Atmospheric lighting by Iain Walton, Katie Bishton and Laura Bishton and some wonderfully timed sound effects and sound design by Andy Cook.

I also loved the subtle choice of music while waiting for the play to start and in the interval. Who's have thought the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "Witchcraft" would set the scene for some serious Shakespeare. Thanks Andy!

"Macbeth" is being performed at Ravenshead Village Hall until Saturday 3 October 2015.

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