Macbeth Review

Mayflower Theatre Southampton until Saturday 2nd March 2019.

Reviewed by Leanne Caplis


Directed by Rufus Norris the National Theatre bring to the stage Macbeth. This is a UK and Ireland Tour that will also be broadcast to cinemas by National Theatre Live on Thursday 10th May 2019.

Having not familiarised myself with the story since reading it during my school days I was lost trying to establish what moment of time the play was trying to portray. I also found it difficult to confirm who was who within the play although by the second half I had worked it out.

The opening scene, which is a good blend of staging, lighting, music, dance and gore set the scene for the brilliance that was yet to come.

I found the set and costumes to be very dark; the only flash of colour being the loud red suit worn by King Duncan (Tom Mannion) and Michael Nardone (Macbeth). The rest of the cast wore modern day clothing which was mainly combat style attire. Some might find the set a bit basic with only three poles with shredded black bin bags hanging from them, a steep wooden walkway and outer walls of accommodation. I thought it worked well for this production and I enjoyed watching the cast move the set about making in part of the storyline.

The witches (Elizabeth Chan, Hauk Pattison and Evelyn Roberts) were superb. Their eerie voices that echoed throughout the theatre together with the creepy way they moved about the stage left me feeling like I was in a scene from a horror film.

I found the old Scottish dialect difficult to get to grips with at times and had to concentrate hard not to focus on every word being spoken; it was easy to get lost in the script. I’m not sure if it was our seating location (dress circle) or the microphone volume but I found Macbeth hard to hear on more than one occasion which was unfortunate as Michael Nardone was definitely the stand out character for me. A special mention here for Kirsty Besterman (Lady Macbeth) and Rachel Sanders (Ross) who both gave powerful performances.

I would gauge the audience to have been at least 70% school/college children and as a result I expect the play will produce good debates as part of literature study. The silence of the audience throughout the production is testament to a good show and therefore a recommended watch