Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke – until 15th March
Review by Heather Chalkley
The Director, Mary Swan, attempts to blend Shakespeare’s Macbeth with the events written in Liar’s Poker by author Michael Lewis, sticking to the original script. Liar’s Poker is based on the events that lead to black Monday on 19th October 1987. Swan is clever in her use of modern references in the old text, particularly with the amount of narcotics used! The physical use of the stripped back set manages to create just enough imagery to know whether you were in the bedroom, on the battlements or in a night club, all of which has a touch of the 80’s.
You have some strong players in the cast, particularly Alexandra Afryea as Lady Macbeth. She has a touch of Grace Jones about her, with added eloquence and emotional intelligence. It is worth seeing the play just for her performance. Danny Charles (Duncan/Macduff/Lennox) also has a clarity in his performance that Shakespeare’s script welcomes. Jessica Andrade (Malcolm, Lady Macduff/Witch/Doctor) and Umar Butt (Banquo/Witch/Ross/attendant) display an impressive range of accents and characters, moving seamlessly between each. Unfortunately, Riz Meedin (Macbeth) is not a believable stock market wise guy or Macbeth. The ruthless greed and passion do not come across in Meedin’s performance. His lines are too often mumbled and trip over themselves. As a whole, the cast needed more rehearsal time to polish their dialogue so that it matched the almost seamless physical performance.
This is an interesting experiment for Proteus, who are known for pushing the boundaries and experimenting. I have to commend them for their ingenuity and having the courage to give it a go.