17 September 2018

Macbeth at RSC Stratford-upon-Avon was amazing

There is probably some sort of limit to the number of times I can watch Macbeth but I have not got there yet.

There were some obvious reasons for wanting to see this version. I had wanted to see a production at RSC Stratford-upon-Avon for some time, this production featured Christopher Eccleston and, judging by the posters, it was a modern take on the classical story.

It was also our wedding anniversary and we used this as an excuse to eat at the RSC Rooftop Restaurant beforehand and to begin the meal with a champagne cocktail. It was a lovely start to the evening.

The theatre surprised me a little. I knew that it had been substantially remodelled in recent years and I was expecting something like National Theatre but what I found was more like Globe Theatre (without the pit). Unexpected but also understandable.

I had paid £50 for a seat on the side of the thrust stage and I was pleased with the view of the stage that I had.

The mood was set in the opening scene with the three witches played by young girls dressed for bedtime and carrying baby dolls. It was a striking image and one that recurred with the witches making several appearances during the play and not just when Shakespeare said they should. One of their roles was to help move the props!

Refreshingly the poster was a true reflection of what the production was like. Other theatres please take note (I'm thinking particularly of Almeida).

I am far from word perfect on Macbeth so I cannot be certain how much was changed but a little was and most was not. It was very much Shakespeare and very much Macbeth and also something a little different with things like the cleaner keeping track of the deaths.

Notably the ending was different. Or rather there was an epilogue where the witches returned and made another dark prediction. It was bit of a risk but I think that it worked. Bringing the witches back bookended the production nicely and the new prediction kept the story alive.

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