Macbeth

Date 21st November 2019
Society Stevenage Lytton Players
Venue Lytton Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director Andreas Georgiou

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

The director Andreas Georgiou, put a new slant on this well- known play by William Shakespeare, concentrating the action in Dunsinane High School and creatively adapting some of the main characters, thus giving a new twist on the action of the play. There were several parallels between the themes tackled by Macbeth and those still relevant today:  "Greed, ambition, betrayal and political manipulation remain widespread in many walks of life be it corporate, business or in this case education. 

Three suitably hag-like dinner ladies, Corrina Winnett, Kerry Baker and Rebecca White provided a shivery, eerie  and most suitable opening. All were highly convincing, and school dinners will never be the same.

Barry Woolhead was perfectly cast as Headmaster Duncan. The delivery of his lines was clear and well- modulated. 

Georgina Vary really commanded the stage as Miss Macbeth, bringing great angst to her breakdown and descent into madness. I really felt her guilt and vulnerability. Hers was a particularly effective performance throughout. Congratulations.

 Member of staff, Tom Bright as Malcolm as Donalbain gave a sterling performance with distinct presence on stage.

Another sterling performance was given by the unfortunate Banquo – Gemma Davies, who is clearly talented, as I have certainly noticed in previous productions. 

Barry Woolhead doubled up and gave a comedically peerless performance as the Porter. The word charisma was surely invented for Barry, though he generously gives a portion of this great gift to some of his fellow players when helping them out as nerves kick in. 

Sophie Harris brought a captivating, even magnetic lustre, wrapped up in her deadly and troubled agony as Lady Macbeth. Hers was one of the stand-out performances I have seen in amateur theatre and she was quite magnificent!! Sophie never fails to deliver no matter what role she takes on. 

Tom Beirn played Mr MacDuff, slayer of Miss Macbeth. Tom is another gifted actor but make sure you are always in control and try to avoid letting the passion of the character you play, take over control. A good, clear delivery with commendable diction.

Jess Marvell did well as his decent wife, Lady Macduff. A caring, thoughtful performance. 

Their brutal slayers were played by Alex Campbell (also the Sergeant) and Guy Hudson as first and second Murderers respectively. Both of them made splendid use of these small, but vitally important roles.

The more minor roles, Mr Ross and Mr Lennox were all played convincingly by Elliot Rice and Joe Poppy. 

Costumes and wardrobe worn by the various members of staff to depict their position within the school were cleverly suggested by single items e.g. cable cricket sweater worn by Mr Ross, the PE teacher. However, the masks worn by the assassins compromised their speech and it was difficult to understand what they were saying. Perhaps half masks would have aided speech.

Sound effects and lighting were appropriate and good use was made of all available space within the confines of the bijou Lytton Theatre. In particular placing the staff room on the far right giving it that “out of bounds” feeling. I liked the heartbeat sound effect when party to Miss Macbeths’ private thoughts. Good idea.

The programme notes were interesting and a little tongue in cheek but I found it quite difficult to find the cast list. I fully understand the concept but for those in the audience who were not familiar with the original play I believe they found the programme rather confusing. A good idea but sometimes less is more.

This was an ambitious project and credit must be given to the director and cast but without a base knowledge of the original play I feel that many of the subtle changes, including some changes from the actual dialogue, may have been lost. I however, enjoyed the experience and commend Lytton for pushing the boundaries.

Thank you for your hospitality