This was my second theatrical review this Fringe, and despite containing some of the most prestigious content of any show advertised this season, Bewitching Macbeth is not your average performance. This is not a show where you can sit back and enjoy a nice glass of wine while a timeless and classical story is played out in front of you.
Director Andrew Kingsford-Smith, and his phenomenal two-piece cast made up of Leofric Kingsford-Smith, (who plays Macbeth and other various characters), and Shakti, (a contemporary dancer who is instrumental in bringing the performance to a whole new level), demand that their audience engage with the performance and created an unashamedly challenging piece which was visually incredible and was truly a joy to watch.
The Director has said that Bewitching Macbeth came about when he and the cast asked the question, “What can be gained if Shakespeare’s plays were told through a fusion of dance and text?” and “Could they be made more accessible?”
In answer, what has been achieved is one of the most exciting, challenging and thought-provoking performances of a Shakespearean work I have seen in years. As to what has been gained, Kingsford-Smith and his incredible two-person cast have gifted audiences a deeper insight into Macbeth’s decent into damnation, and a delightful glimpse of his inner turmoil when lead to his fate by The Witch.
The centuries old story has been told over and over again in cinema, theatre and literature, but has it been made more accessible? I’m not so sure. Kingsford-Smith has assumed that his audience knows the story and is aware of the motivations and struggles which Macbeth encounters as he engages in regicide, murders and multiple acts of betrayal.
Was Bewitching Macbeth enjoyable? Yes. Was it intriguing, thought provoking and an exciting attempt to expand the framework of traditional theatrical concepts? Absolutely! But could you walk into the theatre on a whim, and would I recommend everyone do so? Probably not.
If you are excited by the idea of a modern theatre space and performance, love Shakespeare, and long to see his wonderful work exhibited in a new exhilarating way, then this is the show for you!
Reviewed by Jenna Woods
First Venue: The Garage International, Adelaide Town Hall, (Enter via 25 Pirie St), Adelaide
Season: 4 – 8 March 2014
Second Venue: Birdwood Convention Centre, Shannon St, Birwood
Season: 9 March 2014
Duration: 55 mins
Tickets: $20 – $25
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255