Macbeth brought to life in scary style

By David Hennessy

5 stars

The Acting Gymnasium have brought William Shakespeare’s tragedy of political ambition Macbeth to life with an eeriness and an atmosphere that is apt for the time immediately following Halloween. Macbeth is the story of a general who murders King Duncan to take the Scottish throne only to be consumed by a guilt that is his ondoing.

Michael Claff is compelling as Macbeth and his descent into madness is absorbing, working to engage the audience in his descent into desperate tyranny. He is onstage so much that the play rests squarely on his shoulders and he holds it up admirably.

Tracy Coogan from Meath makes an excellent foil for him as Lady Macbeth. Her portrayal of the power hungry Lady Macbeth  and her manipulation is excellent throughout but when she sleepwalks wracked with guilt, she is chilling to watch.

Also standing out among a talented cast is Anton Stennett as Macduff who has a great stage presence and can move through the gears admirably, shifting from laughing to grieving and then to rage. Perhaps more importantly, he takes the audience with him each time ensuring they stay engaged.

Rylan Beech as Malcolm has an extraordinarily clear delivery and impressive command of Shakespeare’s English.

This interpretation has a dystopian and futuristic feeling and takes inspiration from horror movies. On that note, the witches that foresee Macbeth taking the throne are genuinely frightening and used to great effect throughout the play. Another chilling moment comes when the ghost of Banquo appears at the banquet.

The original music is impressive and reminiscent of Requiem for a Dream feeling in that it is similarly foreboding and builds the atmosphere further.

Macbeth plays at Theatro Technis until 23 November.

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