Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Macbeth, Australian Shakespeare Company, May 18, 2011

  • Kate Herbert
  • From: Herald Sun
  • May 18, 2011 10:18AM

MACBETH, Australian Shakespeare Company, Shed 4, Docklands, until May 28, 2011

"THIS place is too cold for hell," slurs the drunken Porter (Ross Williams) in Shakespeare's grisly play Macbeth.
He's right. The Docklands location for Glenn Elston's winter production is colder than a Scottish castle. But if this makes for an uncomfortable evening, the harsh environment evokes Macbeth's primitive world.

The audience is herded around the cavernous warehouse to stand (or sit if you hire a chair), and on elevated stages we witness bloodthirsty Macbeth (Doru Surcel) and his soldiers and lords -- all bare-chested, tattooed, bloodied and costumed in leather and fur.

Surcel has the ferocity and dark looks for the title role, but his delivery of the language is often laboured with misplaced emphases in the verse.

Terri Brabon, as Lady Macbeth, is passionate and sensual. However, the balance of the narrative is askew and the trajectory of the psychological collapse of both Macbeth and his wife feels awkward. Williams’ Porter provides welcome comic relief in this relentlessly gloomy and violent play. 

Brendan O’Connor gives a consummate performance as Macduff, performing the verse with truth and skill. His portrayal of Macduff’s grief at the murder of his wife and babes is profoundly moving.

Stars rating: ***

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