Macbeth at the Young Vic
Carrie Cracknell and Lucy Guerin’s adaptation of the Scottish play left a little to be desired in this slightly disjointed and clinical version. Though some conceits proved evocative, with plastic-wrapped, duck-taped corpses and choreography that resembled electrocution, the overall effect seemed to belong in a futuristic dystopia rather than the hills of Dunsinane.
The Bard’s play needs no introduction and has been subject to many outrageous adaptations in the past. However, the Young Vic’s production seemed an example of an overzealous attempt at “trying to be different”. The visual impact of the piece cannot be denied, as it conveyed a more specific and characterless locale to the gore and brutality of the Homeland. The bare, cavernous corridor dotted with florescent lights presented a jarring image, conjuring up some hauntingly beautiful silhouettes of the usurping king as he cited the suspicious dagger.
The witches definitely lived up to the name of “weird sisters”, as a trio of twitchy witches modelled Kanye West’s Adidas collection in nude knickers. Amidst the convulsing and wielding of strange, unidentifiable objects, there were bouts of interesting movement sequences. The witches and porters broke into a flurry of arm-waving and bouncing that added a sense of dynamism to the performance, but seemed lost on the text, and confused the plot line.
John Heffernan and Anna Maxwell Martin gave typically engaging performances as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They recited with ease and proper agonised inflection that reminded the audience of the genius of Shakespeare’s text. Their clarity and emotional tact were impressive, but seemed to belong in another production. At times, the visual impact overshadowed the performance, resulting in a shallow portrayal of an idea rather than a cohesive, well thought-out whole.
Though the play was condensed into two hours with no interval, it lacked the obvious tension and visceral nature of the murderers’ insatiable guilt. This Macbeth exhibited laudable points of inventive physicality and creative conception, but resulted in an excessive, stale approach.
Macbeth is on at the Young Vic Theatre from 26th November until 23rd January 2016, for further information or to book visit here.