Wednesday, 17 July 2013

In Manchester: 3 – Macbeth

When Caroline, the children and I walked in to the deconsecrated St.Peter’s Church the usher pointed out that as we were in the front row we needed to be careful not to lean forwards in case we got hit by a sword.

The production was relentless, visceral, immediate.  We were spattered with mud, water, blood.   Clashing swords created firefly-like sparks landing on our faces.  McDuff’s wife and child were slaughtered a meter in front of my nose.  Shocking, tragic, total theatre.

Kenneth Branagh brought to the role such a psychological profundity and narrative clarity that I would say this could be the defining Macbeth of our generation.  It's odd then to read the reviews; the critics seem divided between the majority who think it outstanding; and one or two who strangely didn't like it at all.

Almost everyone I know intends to go and see it in a cinema when it’s broadcast this weekend.  But what you won't get in the cinema is the peaty, lingering, smell of the Scottish mud.

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