At the edge of the Fringe, in a 13th century church, Shakespeare’s tragic Macbeth is waiting to bewitch you. This Is My Theatre regularly stage their work in non-traditional spaces such as churches and gardens, and the experience of seeing this play from the pews of St Peters made an already-excellent performance unmissable.
A magical adaptation in a wonderful setting gives life and music to this classic tale
Scottish Gaelic song is woven through the performance, beginning as we took our seats and waited for the play to start. It is more than a nice touch—the tunes repeat and echo throughout the performance, sometimes rowdy, sometimes maudlin, always adding to the scene. The cast’s dark humming from all corners of the church gave me goose bumps as Eleanor Toms’ Lady Macbeth paced the aisle in a stark white gown.
Even more impressive than the clever use of music is that the musicians playing to greet us are three of the five-strong cast. Deft use of capes, crowns and hoods allowed the multi-talented Andy Colter, Simon Stallard and Matt Tweddle to change roles without confusion. Their mix of characters and skilful dipping in and out of song made this an ensemble success. I loved the trickster trio of the 'wyrd brothers' and felt real sympathy as Macbeth and his Lady clung to one another in a paranoid embrace.
Sarah Slator’s thoughtful adaption loses none of the bones of the original. It keeps Shakespeare’s original language, and I thrilled to hear some of my favourite lines cleverly used. My familiarity with the play did help my enjoyment of the show, and while the blurb describes this as for all ages I think younger children would lose track, and get spooked.
For me, this adaptation spoke about self-belief. Believe you are destined for inevitable greatness, and what will you let stand in your way? Turn that around—what if you believe you are cursed? Are any influences as strong as the stories and lies we tell ourselves?