Macbeth at Temple Church
Awash with blood-curdling screams that retain a faint echo in each line of the play, Antic Disposition’s Macbeth arrives drenched in fury and dripping with desire. The award-winning theatre company adapts one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies with a nod to modern social and cultural values through the setting of the late Victorian era. From scene to scene, this performance beats with the palpitating energy of impending wickedness spurred by a lust for power.
The chemistry between Lady Macbeth (Helen Millar) and Macbeth (Harry Anton) sparks a heat kindled from ambition and greed that is devilishly sumptuous to flaunt within the steep walls of Temple Church. The two serve as a chilling reminder of the precarious relationships that construct our political institutions. Conversely, Andrew Hislop also delivers a captivating performance of Macduff in both grief and mental fortitude against hardship. Altogether, this cast weaves a terrifying tale that feels all too real in today’s world.
Directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero take a confident turn from Shakespeare’s original text to centre the prophetic witches as omnipotent incendiaries. While the titular character’s mind gradually unravels under the pressure of his and Lady Macbeth’s murderous plots, the witches seem to have already arrived at the couple’s ultimate demise. Their presence in the background of almost every scene ties each action to the next and helps illuminate the original language of the play.
Contemporary trends in theatre seek productions that shock their audiences with outrageous and extravagant staging, but do not always succeed in their goal because they emphasise the elements that make their show different from others rather than the material itself. Antic Disposition’s Macbeth proves that imbuing a classic script with fresh energy means shining a light on the subtle details and letting them walk off the page. This enrapturing adaptation delivers a heart-pounding experience that’s sure to keep you up all night.
Photos: Scott Rylander
Macbeth is at Temple Church from 20th August until 7th September 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.