Review: Macbeth, Shakespeare’s Globe

“Laugh to scorn the power of men”

Who’d’ve thought 2013 would turn out to be the year of the impressive Malcolm? After Alexander Vlahos’ strongly defined interpretation of a fast-maturing young man for the MIF’s Macbeth in the summer, so now Philip Cumbus makes his own successful stab at the character for the Globe’s take on the Scottish Play, making him an unmistakeable stateman from the off even if he hides it well. The production is most notable for marking the directorial debut of that product-of-a-star-dancing Eve Best and a striking one it is too – whereas Lucy Bailey went all-out Dante back in 2010, Best treats it with a much lighter, even comedic, touch.

It’s a bold choice and one that is just so different that in the trickier moments, it was hard to tell whether I felt it was genuinely unsuccessful or rather that it was just so unexpected. Generally speaking, the vein of black comedy that was teased out was stronger than the broader strokes that often appear in Globe comedies, but the sound of so much laughter in the play did feel at odds with its increasingly darkening horizons, the creeping sense of horror never really materialises as the tonal balance of the production makes it hard for the actors to shift modes and carry the audience with them. Continue reading “Review: Macbeth, Shakespeare’s Globe”

Review: Stories Before Bedtime – April Fools, Criterion

“I lay immobile, like a deadly alligator”

Although a regular home to The 39 Steps, the Criterion Theatre has been expanding its programme of theatrical events with interviews, critic panels and play readings taking place in the afternoon – the last of which I attended earlier this month. They also have a late night event, Stories Before Bedtime, which features readings of short stories from a variety of writers, loosely based around a theme. This was one was entitled April Fools and included works from Martin Amis, Irvine Welsh and Tom Basden.

The big draw of the night was Andrew Scott, who delivered a highly energetic and nuanced performance of an excerpt from Martin Amis’ tale of adolescent shenanigans The Rachel Papers. Scott is such an engaging performer that one could imagine him reading anything to great effect, but he really was superb at capturing the gawky awkwardness and tortured travails of teenage sexuality and negotiating that oh so tricky task of talking to girls. With a wry warmth and a knowing humour, he brought huge personality and likeability to our protagonist and definitely made the evening worthwhile. Continue reading “Review: Stories Before Bedtime – April Fools, Criterion”