Macbeth and the RSC

June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last night I saw Macbeth performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The show was amazing.  The theater was recently redone, and the stage comes out into the audience (much like at the Globe), with entrances from each of the front corners of the stage; actors enter the stage through the audience and in some cases action of the play took place in the audience.  Although I didn’t have the most sought-after seat in the house, my view was perfect and I was surprisingly close to the stage.  The whole theater is set up in such a way that no seat is actually bad; it’s quite ingenious.

I’m not an expert on Shakespeare or Macbeth nor have I seen it performed before, but I thought they did a wonderful job.  The witches were played by ghostly children who made their first entrance by being lowered on ropes above the stage to look like they were hanged.  At first, I believed them to be props until they started kicking, at which point the whole audience jumped, I think.  They were superb, and that scene in particular was very eerie.

Much of the casting was great: Macbeth, of course, was excellent, as was Lady Macbeth.  I thought Macduff was superb (he even made me cry), and Lady Macduff had a pitifully small role for her talent.  Banquo was good (and shockingly tall), as were Duncan and all of the smaller roles.  Seyton was great and totally creepy (in a good way).   The three kids were excellent.  My only complaint with the acting was Malcolm, which was particularly disappointing because he both opens and closes the show.  I thought he was over the top and amateurish, but like I said, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.  All in all, I loved it!  It was such a pleasure to see a Shakespeare play performed live by people who really knew what they were doing and were good at it.  The stage, the set, the performances were all robust and expertly done.  What a delight!  I was completely happy and charmed.

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