Recast in a WWI bunker, claustrophobia is the order of the day as you watch events unfold in a very small room from an even smaller bench. The cast are in competition with the discomfort provided by these benches for an hour and a half and emerge gloriously triumphant. To portray the story with only four actors is a feat in itself, but the script brilliantly adapts Shakespeare’s original language to its new setting.
To create an immersive experience for an audience set in the round can be difficult, one awry glance at another audience member and your immersion can be shattered. Yet the actors simply relish yet another attention-grabbing challenge to beat. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth present a stunning pair, working seamlessly with each other. When Macbeth raves at the presence of Banquo’s ghost, Lady Macbeth’s reassurances to the audience to keep their seats allow you to believe that the dinner feast could truly be happening in this dirty bunker.
The set itself is brilliantly created. No inch of the room is left uncovered – my favourite addition was that of a metal plaque above the bunker telephone which listed instructions and contact numbers for its usage. Light beaming in from beyond the sandbags completes the trench mentality. The use of gasmasks in the production is superb. True, it is partly to compensate for having to cover the sheer amount of characters with four actors effectively. However, never have you heard something quite so chilling as the three witches delivered through a faceless gasmask breathing heavily. Banquo’s ghost similarly dons the gasmask, placed unwillingly on his head before his strangulation.
This production is simply brilliant and well worth seeing.