Macbeth

by William Shakespearemacbeth77

Get Over It Productions

Directed by Paula Benson

Designed by Valenzia Spearpoint

at The Roundhouse Studio Theatre

The Camden Fringe

Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8EH

Call 0844 482 8008 Tickets £7.50

Running time 1 hour with no intermission

4.30pm Through August, 2009

Cool, But Not Far Out

Glam-rock, 70’s glam-fest Macbeth? Sounds tempting. Only an hour long? Can’t hurt too much. Might just be a little winner.

Caveat: mistakenly referring to this thundering Shakespearean tragedy of grasping ambition, superstition and murder as a love story, was the amber alert. No hits, but a lot of misses (pun intended) as this energetic, ambitious company of eight actor-women throw ‘stardust and glitter’ at the story.

Some pleasant live drumming, hip hop dancing and unintelligible miming by the two male members of the ‘all female’ company started proceedings. In what followed there was a good sense of the drama, but had the wondrous language not been so rattled off and mangled, had the rather lovely music and song   been more clearly and naturally integrated, had the acting styles and levels been more consistent, had the direction at least have counselled against facing straight out to the front, this company might actually have achieved a most unlikely coup. They might have won with the creation of a genre of envy/chic, murder/chic and superstition/chic. It would be nice to say that they failed while striving valiantly, but the company does exaggeratedly boast that it is ‘steeped in the traditions of physical theatre’.

Tania Kieffer in the title role spent a great deal of time facing front and staring at the gallery, but made her interpretation and physicality tell with her final speeches. Between M and Lady M, the lusting after power did not result in any sense of physical hunger for each other. As if determined to avoid being labelled a gay company, close contact was a coy and careful kissing of foreheads, or putting an arm around the shoulders.  Thelma Rocha, in her various roles, was entertainingly bright and forceful, and occasional design touches, as with the bloody daggers, and distorted mirror image were most pleasing.

Clearly time, creative energy and possibly money has been spent on appearances. But the show shares with Macbeth himself  the absence of the steely character which would have guided them both on a path of fruition, not mistake. The signs are there, though.

At an hour’s length it was enough, but a tauter vision of the dream could have held one’s attention to this watchable piece more rewardingly.

Somewhat Recommended

Saul Reichlin

London correspondent