MacBeth by William Shakespeare
Performed during 1990
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Reviewed by Kathleen Gallacher for The Croydon Advertiser
Hit of the Highlands
Staging a Shakespearian tragedy is always a challenge for professional thespians who often have good financial resources and a pool of excellent actors to mobilize.
How much more difficult then for amateurs who must fit their rehearsals around ordinary working life, and find or make costumes and scenery from whatever is at hand.
With these things in mind full marks are due to Theatre Workshop Coulsdon who are presenting a commendable version of MacBeth at the Youth and Social Centre in Chipstead Valley Road this week.
MacBeth is one of the Bard's most familiar works, telling of the destruction of a great Scottish lord through a combination of greed, ambition, witchcraft and murder. The sinister story fully deserves its sinister reputation.
MacBeth is played by Paul M Ford with clear articulation and considerable power. He puts his all into the role and his moments of anguish are moving. It's not often that an amateur actor feels confident enough to let rip, but Paul did with a flourish, and good for him.
He was given stalwart support from the other characters; Chris Argles as the doomed King Duncan, Mike Brown as Lennox and Tim Young as Ross. The director Richard Lloyd who played MacDuff was particularly good, speaking with a naturalness that escaped the others.
Banquo, Mark Taylor, was a little soft spoken for the bluff good-learned Banquo. While Lisa Boniface as the serpentine Lady MacBeth - a part which has defeated many great actresses - desperately needed to inject some viciousness into her role. She just seemed to be too nice to contemplate murder.
The costumes, sets, sound and lighting were truly magnificent. The battlements towering above the audience deserved a round of applause all to themselves, and the costumes (by Lesley Brown and Barbara McGee) were splendidly evocative of murderous medieval Scotland.
Just one very minor gripe. Did women in those times really sport pony tails?
MacBeth runs until Sunday night. See listings on page 30 for details.
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