MACBETH, Shakespeare’s gory tale of regicide, is one of the Bard’s darkest plays. It’s also his shortest tragedy.
At London’s Trafalgar Studios (until 27 April), a new production of the piece currently has critics salivating, not least because X-Men’s James McAvoy is in the title role. I was invited to the Studios last week to check out this latest take on the work.
Directed by Jamie Lloyd, it is set in a post apocalyptic Scotland. A land where royals and rogues alike are reduced to raggedy, booted and suited survivors with a penchant for the random - witches wear gas masks and an assassin has a pig’s head.
A vibrant exploration of Shakespeare’s Scotland this production is exciting and dangerous, risky and visceral. It’s also a timely look at the Scottish identity.
Indeed, much speculation has been voiced about the piece’s political message - is it a comment on a post-independence Scotland?
You could read that into it, if you must, but the play is what it is, nothing more.
What Lloyd has done, is reimage Macbeth in almost cinematic terms. The obvious aim, to attract a younger audience. Judging by the matinee audience I watched with, it’s an endeavour not without success.
The one flaw of the show is buying into the trend of abandoning use of iambic pentameter - the tick-tock rhythm used in the writing which dictates the lines should be delivered poetically - in favour of stage Scottish accents.
One thing this Macbeth has left me with, however, is a curious desire to see McAvoy ‘give his Hamlet’, as they say in the business... time for a follow up.