Macbeth

Date 4th December 2023
Society Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society
Venue MADS Little Theatre, Macclesfield
Type of Production Play
Director Andrea Buccino
Producer Christopher Dunn
Written By William Shakespeare

Report

Author: Steph Niland

Reading the eloquent and articulate Director’s Notes in the programme before entering the auditorium, gave an insight into the portrayal we were about to witness. Here is a director, passionate about storytelling and characterisation and highlighting the importance of live theatre alongside theatre theory and making Shakespeare’s work accessible. Exciting. There was also a promise of a punk rock Macbeth, and indeed, the soundtrack to entering the acting space was “Anarchy in the UK” by The Sex Pistols, yet the punk rock theme started and ended with the music that was used throughout the play. The staging, costume and delivery were “traditional” for Macbeth. Where one might have expected a graffitied wreck of a castle and a leather jacketed Banquo, we were actually given solid castle walls and medieval attire. A moment’s uncertainty only, because putting that to one side, and although that might have made for interesting viewing, the play, direction and performances lost nothing by playing it “straight”.

This is obviously a society enthused by putting on a rich and powerful piece of work. It was riddled with engaging and competent performances; nicely paced and staged action; and the supportive collaboration made it effective. Each character was given appropriate thought, time, and weight. The doubling up was well executed, and the space used to its best.

Andrea Buccino’s direction, assisted by Andy Loxham, kept the action flowing whilst emphasizing the themes beautifully. These flawed characters were very real, the emotions explored fully, and the complex relationships studied and executed beautifully. The stark surroundings and interesting lighting effects complemented the rendition. Well done!

The cast of 16 took on approximately 30 roles between them. There was some superb doubling up, particularly impressive was Peter Munro as Duncan, First Murderer and the Doctor. Each role he portrayed was nuanced and whole and it was hard to believe it was the same actor. Duncan was given gravitas, and the doctor had a gentle humour. Congratulations on a solid performance. Another notable performance of similar ilk was Susan Sills in the roles of Third Witch and Menteith. This actress brought dramatic experience and an ethereal quality to her witch and a completely different energy to Menteith. Well done!

Luke Oldham was suitably ambitious and tortured in the titular role, Macbeth. He grasped all that this rollercoaster of a part had to offer and put across an accomplished and robust rendition. The daring war hero to murderer to tormented lover journey was represented wonderfully.

Lady Macbeth was also skilfully played, by Annie Winch. Ruthless and bold when needed with lightning character changes to play the genial hostess and then we witness the mental downfall that was respectfully and realistically rendered. The relationship depicted by these two actors was wonderful, how they managed to stir conflicting emotions in the audience was remarkable. Testament to their talents and the direction.

Another notable performance came from Andy Cantillon as Banquo. Perfect foil for Macbeth, Andy’s Banquo was endearing and dependable. He exuded a “decent man” quality, and his delivery of Shakespeare’s text was the most natural. We didn’t miss a word or meaning. This actor had a solid grasp of his character and the bard’s words felt genuine in his voice – well done!

The role of Macduff played by Simon Robertshaw must be mentioned. A worthy adversary for Macbeth. Simon was strong and brooding and the emotional displays when he received news of his family were sincere and heart wrenching. This actor managed to be rugged, passionate, and sensitive as Macduff and threw in some stage combat too. A fabulous portrayal. Congratulations.

The rest of the cast were strong, watchable, and certainly invested in telling this tragic tale. The teamwork was palpable, and each line was played to the full and articulated beautifully. There were some fabulous lighting effects -shadowy moments and angles and a great, atmospheric cauldron scene, thanks to Adam Hardy and Kayleigh Smith.

 Further outings to MADS shows are warmly anticipated. Congratulations on a fabulous play.