In this delightfully satirical and shoddy retelling of Macbeth, spunky Heidi Niemi commands the stage with focus, hilarity and precision. Dressed in neat black trousers, a white shirt and black braces, the solo performer dashes about the stage, energetically snapping from character to character.
she is a natural when it comes to comedy, but lacks the intensity and severity needed to pull off the dramatic speeches within the piece
She utilises simple props, such as a black sheet, to morph quickly between the three witches, distinguishing each one with inventive forms and uses a large teddy bear as young boy Fleance. Low status stage hand, Gus Kennedy Jacob assists Niemi by providing live sound effects and additional voices. He is often left to his own devices, to which he comically plays up to his awkwardness.
The actors playfully use a large red curtain at the back of the stage to clown around, leaving the audience giggling as they dash behind it to change costumes. With direction from Anu Niemi, the text is simplified and includes an abundance of contemporary words suitable for a modern audience. Heidi prompts the audience to assist with a fanfare for Macbeth’s first entrance, ensuring they feel involved and engaged in the piece.
The entrance of Lady Macbeth is that of a classic cabaret act; red lipstick, black silk gloves and pointy stilettos. The actress adds an intriguing twist when she speaks part of Lady Macbeth’s famous speech in her native language. She then briskly proceeds into a thoroughly enjoyable feminist rant in which the heels come off and the cat callers are shunned. There are other instances in which Niemi adds feminist moments, which seem slightly out of place, such as the odd gangsta-style rap. The actor often has her back to the audience, particularly when playing Lady Macbeth, which disconnects her momentarily from the spectators.
She appears to find more enjoyment and comfort in playing the male characters, such as the hilariously dweebish Duncan, who has a sneaky premonition he is to be killed and stalls the audience in an attempt not to leave the stage. Heidi proves she is a natural when it comes to comedy, but lacks the intensity and severity needed to pull off the dramatic speeches within the piece, which in turn affects the pace resulting in a slight anti-climax. All in all, MacBETTI is an inventive, physical piece with heaps of playful energy.