Royal Shakespeare Company’s Macbeth: Theatre Review

This week I went to see a live-streamed performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Macbeth at my local cinema. To find out more about live-streamed theatre productions and how you can watch them too, this previous post will be helpful.

First Impressions

This was my first experience of Macbeth and I have been captivated by Shakespeare’s twisted and darkly insidious tale. The most striking aspect of the performance for me was its mesmerising intensity. A relentless suspense meant I sat there engrossed, neglecting the strawberry cheesecake ice cream becoming a melted disappointment in my hand!

Plot

Although it is fast-paced and suspenseful, I found the plot relatively easy to follow. That being said, I read a quick SparkNotes summary beforehand. I would recommend this even if you’re only watching for pleasure, as it really helped me make the most of the experience by preventing any confusion.

“Come, you spiritsThat tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here,And fill me from the crown to the toe top fullOf direst cruelty

Characters

My most memorable character was Lady Macbeth, played by Niamh Cusack. Her portrayal of Lady Macbeth’s descent into madness was particularly disturbing! She also captured all the ambiguity and complexity surrounding this character, which was fascinating to learn about in the pre-performance and interval features. I believe that although she behaves with such callous, murderous tendencies, the grief deeply rooted in her character warrants a consideration more sensitive that categorising her conveniently as the play’s corruptive villain.


What do you think of the controversial character of Lady Macbeth?

Performance Aspects

There were some bold touches to the visual effects of the performance, with cinematic aspects drawn from horror films and psychological thrillers. For example, the three witches were not played by old women but as young children carrying creepy dolls and speaking in unison. This really brought out the chilling atmosphere of Macbeth and made the performance play on my mind long after the powerful ending.


Do you have any questions, discussion points, or simply want to share your experience of Macbeth? Please do let me know in the comments; I would love to hear from you!

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