Brave Macbeth

If you feel sceptical about the idea of Macbeth as a comedy for children, let me put your mind at rest. Startlingly, Brave Macbeth is a gleefully funny production – particularly all of the bits you might assume to be too dark. Captivate Theatre should be commended for their excellent and accessible Shakespearian adaptation. The combination of Shakespearian language and modern Scots is a match made in heaven.

Perfect for someone looking for a family friendly Shakespeare show that will leave them grinning.

This is a fast paced blitz through the best bits of Macbeth. It hits all of the important parts in a manner which is clear enough for those new to Shakespeare, yet innovative enough for those who are more familiar. The show throws some much needed emphasis onto the good guys of the play, giving the ever decreasing collection of them their own great song that would reprise whenever some of them were bumped off.

The cast work well together as a tightly knit team and they were clearly enjoying themselves. Banquo was relishing the opportunity to be a head on a plate. The ensemble’s strong characterisation really holds the whole thing together as they swap though a wide range of loopy characters including angels and devils, inept incomprehensible murderers and ill-suited messengers. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth made a good pair. The brave, roguish and, most importantly, good Macbeth is initially very much under his wife’s thumb, but grows into his position as the lead. Lady Macbeth is the true villain of the whole piece, talking her husband round with some serious henpecking and a heavy dose of Shakespearian/Scottish insults.

The performance and music have managed to marry a sense of irreverence with the power of Shakespeare language. When Macbeth finally gets up to give his big speech, and escapes from his furious soliloquy hating wife, it’s a lovely uplifting moment. I particularly enjoyed the naming of Macduff’s children after other Shakespearian characters, though I suspect that went over the heads of the children. There was also a slightly unsavoury comment to Viola about her dressing in boys clothes, which Viola attempted to respond to but was promptly murdered before she could finish.

However, Brave Macbeth is perfect for someone looking for a family friendly Shakespeare show that will leave them grinning.

Reviews by M Johnson

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

On his way home from battle, Brave Macbeth meets the witches who tell him that he will become king. Now he quite likes that idea and so does his wife. What will he do to get his hands on the crown? 'One of the best children's shows at the Fringe this year... has set the mark for how Shakespeare can be enjoyable and fun for all ages' (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Funny, fast and exciting! An excellent example of children's theatre done right... Hilariously silly yet educational. Great fun for all the family' (AllEdinburghTheatre.com).