The Scottish play
Review in Weekend Notes from 14th July, 2017
Double double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble". Tossing a few poisoned entrails, eye of newt and toe of frog into a bubbling cauldron while pondering the man who would be king, the three sibylline Wyrd sisters (or witches if you like, but let's not call them that here) almost steal the show in Factory Space Theatre's interpretation of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. I was delighted to attend the opening performance, currently showing at Star of the Sea Theatre in Manly. With minimal props, lighting and sound, Director Roz Riley has created an actor-focused production, honouring the original storyline while allowing the actors to bring some interesting personality slants to the fore. Opening the first act in bloodied outfits and a curious demeanour, the sisters are mulling over their next prophecy and who should be tested by it. A simple throne fills the stage, and a backdrop of changing images (courtesy of one of the witches, E. Strange) places the spectator on the drawbridge, immediately immersing them in the play's goings on. Throughout the scenes, the actors make full use of the aisles, and this adds to the audience's 'participation' and feeling part of the castle's crowd.
It's been many years since I studied Shakespeare's work and I recall the original 'Macbeth' tells the story of the Scottish King Duncan. His two generals - Macbeth and Banquo - have recently had success on the battlefield and, as they return home, encounter three witches who prophesy that Macbeth will become King of Scotland, and Banquo will beget a line of Scottish Kings, creating an inevitable chain of events that involve murder, betrayal, jealous rage, revenge and an uncertain outcome.
With such simple staging, lighting, sound and props, the characters become the focus. Stand-out performances for me were Kurtis Wakefield (Macbeth), who betrayed a man of passion and purpose, but lacking the wisdom and discernment to not be carried away by the agenda of the women in his life, resulting in an unflattering downfall. Michela Carattini (Lady Macbeth) does wonderful justice to her role has Macbeth's lover and wife. Bored with her current position, she seizes the opportunity to encourage her husband on a murderous track, ultimately bringing about her own mental demise. Penelope Berkemeier's (sister, Harpier the Owl) mischievous curiosity pushes the play along, bouncing off strong performances of those around her, and adding a quirky lightness to the theme of murder and mayhem. Micky Rose (Duncan, monarch of Scotland) is quietly stoic but the emotionally-charged portrayal of the role is thought-provoking and proud, determined to defeat unruly ambition and tyranny.
The Factory Space Theatre Company shines with its unique and innovative style of production, interweaving the texture of relationships with the physical surroundings.
Review in AltMedia 17th July.
Factory Space Theatre Company has brought William Shakespeare’s Macbeth back to the stage, presenting an interesting adaptation to captivate audiences.
A courageous Scottish general named Macbeth is told his future by three sibylline creatures; that one day he will become the King of Scotland. Influenced by his wife, a powerful woman with blood on her hands and passion in her heart, Macbeth kills King Duncan and takes the throne for himself, consumed by guilt and paranoia. Starting off really strong, the audience was drawn into the performance through the intimate theatre setting and wonderful special effects. The lighting and sound effects were a vital addition, contributing to the haunting atmosphere, in conjunction with occasional humming from the characters.
The cast were very talented with great character development and they spoke Shakespearean English brilliantly. The costuming was extravagant and beautiful to look at, however its complexity confused the time period in which it was set. Breaking the fourth wall throughout the performance was a great idea, immersing audiences further into the unique world created on stage.
The plot was sometimes difficult to follow, which may cause confusion amongst the audience. To fully appreciate this performance, audiences will need to have a prior knowledge of the story. Some parts of the performance also felt quite slow and lost audience interest, particularly when there were chunks of dialogue and not much else happening on stage.
Review in Sydney Arts
This intimate production of MACBETH is performed both on stage, and in and around the audience, as we follow Macbeth’s twisted mental landscape as he kills all his rivals to capture the Crown.
Many actors believe that the play is cursed, and refer to the play as The Scottish Play. As written, the play has a minimum of 40 characters, usually requiring a cast of 19 actors. Director Roz Riley has created her extraordinary vision of MACBETH with just ten actors, and each night there are video-projected images which are drawn live by E. Strange.
The three Weird Sisters (The Witches) constantly change costumes and demeanour, to magnificently deliver the bulk of the huge cast of characters. The production was beautifully staged with the tension palpable throughout and the fine ensemble cast delivering consummate performances.
In particular, Kurtis Wakefield as Macbeth and Michela Carattini as Lady Macbeth gave great performances. Lady Macbeth with her sleepwalking, has an interesting death in her mad scene, that brought tears to my eyes. My favourite performance of the night, was the often neglected but important role of The Porter.
Dean Tuttle was a fierce bold warrior as Macduff but then we went on to see the other side of the man, a loving husband and father, torn apart by grief and shock, when told that his whole family had been murdered.
Review from What’s on Sydney
Thrice to yours and thrice to mine and thrice again to make it nine.
Factory Space Theatre company is proud to present William Shakespeare’s MacBeth with Live Scene Drawings by Ethan Strange.
Directed by Roz Riley, MacBeth will take you on a spooky and startling journey of jealously, hurt, love and rage. With astounding performances by Kurtis Wakefield, Danny Bolt, Dean Tuttle and Michela Carattini as Lady MacBeth herself, the audience will lose themselves in the scenes and surroundings created by the cast and crew. A classic retelling of a well known and loved Shakespeare tale, with modern twenty-first century technology aiding in the delivery of the stories core messages of greed and corruption. With scenes delivered in the middle of the audiences seating, brings to life the intense nature of the scenes, making the audience feel part of the action, the audience will be on the edge of their seat in anticipation and fright. It is the clever and subtle live scene drawings on the back drop, propped behind the actors, that bring both clarity and confidence to the story, allowing for pictures to tell a thousand words.
Subtly spooky, dark and disheartening, MacBeth will sure to give you goose bump from the moment you enter the theatre to the very last word spoken. A not to be missed production of MacBeth for Shakespeare lovers and new comers. “Blood with have blood, they say”
Audience comments |
Ijust wanted to say again how much I enjoyed the play:)
To be completely honest, this is the first production of Shakespeare in Australia that I enjoyed – and that includes Bell Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, and several others. As I mentioned, I find that the biggest challenge I find with Shakespeare plays is that the beauty of the language gets lost as people focus more on the acting.
What I loved about this production of Macbeth is that acting, of course, was great, but the language was given proper attention as well. In my opinion, this is what Shakespeare is supposed to be, this is how I imagined it:) VK
|Macbeth   photographed by John Reeves|