Director Sam Yates has changed my expectations of a Fringe show. His interpretation of Macbeth, currently running at C Venues at Adam House, raises the bar so high that other 5-Star shows suddenly look amateurish in comparison.
Macbeth - The Hour is a strikingly powerful re-telling of Shakespeare's most popular tragedy. On the Fringe, Bill Shakespeare has traditionally been much abused, and most of it is not flattering. This, however, stays firmly with the plot without gimmick or gag. Instead, the traditional is merged with sound, vision and physical theatre to create the most spectacular production of a classic I have seen in Edinburgh - or even London - for years.
Production values then, are obviously high. The atmosphere of this piece is stunning in all areas. The lighting, the costumes, the set and even the size of the cast all seem ambitiously impossible on the Fringe, but yet this show makes no compromises except the promise to deliver it all within an hour.
The cast are flawless. Lady Macbeth is often considered to be the most challenging role for women in Western theatre, yet Sophie Middlemiss makes this look easy. Without question, Benjamin Deery dominates as Macbeth, and Thomas Eccleshare brings such raw talent to the part of Banquo that I distinctly felt hairs go up on the back of my neck during the banqueting scene. The choreography - as this is the best description of the stage direction - was a joy to watch, with every member of the cast absolutely as one as they seamlessly built this beauty of a performance.
I left the theatre numb from the sheer brilliance of this production. Would I go again? Absolutely. Save me a seat near the front.