Odeon Theatre, Norwood
Reviewed Saturday February 27th 2010 (See Festival Guide for dates, times, etc.)
Presented by The Adelaide Festival in association with The Border project and the Sydney Theatre Company.
Bookings: BASS outlets 131 246 or http://www.adelaidefestival.com.au
Some believe that it is because Shakespeare directly quoted the words of a magical invocation in the script but, whatever the reason, his play, Macbeth, has come to be considered a cursed work. Those of us in the profession never use its title but refer to it simply as ‘the Scottish play’, for fear that even so much as the mention of the name might cause bad luck. It is this premise, then, that underlies and informs this production, the performance including everything that went wrong during the rehearsals and references to accidents from previous productions throughout the play’s history.
The larger part of the work is a trimmed version of the Bard’s play, interrupted from time to time when things go wrong. To comment on the numerous accidents and mistakes would, of course, spoil it for those who have yet to see the production, so suffice to say that there are somewhat more laughs in this production than Shakespeare ever intended. In spite of the threat of a supposed curse waiting in the wings to cause disaster, this is a very successful production.
Cameron Goodall takes the title role, with Amber McMahon playing his wife. There is a real chemistry that exists between their two characters, amplified by superb individual performances. Director, Sam Haren, is lucky to find two such experienced and talented leads available for this production, as they both have busy professional careers. It does not stop there, however, as the entire cast are formidable performers, with long lists of performance credits to their names. The witches cast their spells and prophesise using voice modifying electronics for an eerie effect. Ursula Mills and Zindzi Okenyo are joined by Alirio Zavarce as the third witch, adding a touch of bizarre humour to the sinister trio, as he carries his petite handbag around with him. This production is filled with excellent performances and strong ensemble work that holds the audience attention for every second.
There is a great deal of physical action and the set, designed by Sam Haren and Matthew Neale, is as much a part of the performance as the actors, as you will see when you attend a performance. David Heinrich provides the live music, as well as playing several roles, and Govin Ruben’s busy lighting plot adds much to the establishment of the various locations. Stage fight scenes are often lacking in believability but Scott Witt’s choreography works very well, and Melissa Page’s costumes fit the bill nicely. The final result is a solid production that will have you leaving the theatre considering that your time could not have been better spent.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Glam Adelaide Arts Editor.