Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Max Rubin
Reviewer: John Roberts
The Public Reviews Rating:
Loadstar Theatre Company have never been afraid of trying something new, injecting something fresh into an already overly drained field of constantly performed Shakespeare’s, this production of Macbeth for example is the 5th in the region in just over a year.
Director Max Ruben has cut the text to a running time of just over 90 minutes, aiming to keep his relatively young target audience engaged. His interpretation sets the world of Macbeth into a fictitious council estate in Liverpool, hooded gangs fight for estate supremacy, a world of gun crime and drug dealings. Whilst not original it seemingly sits well with the audience of students watching.
Unlike lasts years production of Romeo & Juliet, Ruben has decided to principally cast this production with a relatively young cast, but what he gains from the evident energy from his ensemble he loses in the clarity and delivery of the text which is often rushed, under coloured and sadly lacking in depth and understanding, this only serves to dismount the needed tension and atmosphere which is brilliantly created by Howard Gray’s underscoring and a highly filmic opening sequence.
Rubin’s direction is unfortunately weaker than his vision, failing to utilise the vast open stage of the Royal Court, he succumbs to broad-strokes, missing the subtlety in the relationships between the characters, no more noticeable than during Macbeth’s Soliloquies which are woefully misjudged and flat.
There are however glimmers of excellence, Zoe Lister stands out strongly as a sexy, red haired, coccaine snorting Lady Macbeth, Jack Rigby fresh out of LIPA gives a strong portrayal of Banquo, however due to the brutality of the cuts, we lose so much of his relationship with Macbeth so vital for the banquet scene to work. Credit must be given to Jamie Hampson who comes across as a natural with Shakespeare, a delicate and subtle delivery and a new local talent to watch out for.
Loadstar need to go back to basics, forget the gimmicks and focus on the storytelling, find a cast who can handle verse and can understand what they are saying and perhaps they may get the production they were hoping for!