Jared Fortune and Henry Proffit - Photo: Scott Rylander
Cast and creatives
Henry Proffit (Macbeth)
Sadie Pepperell (Lady Macbeth / Witch 3)
Danielle Bond (Lady Macduff / Witch 2)
Cameron Crighton (Banquo)
Guy Dennys (Malcolm)
James Duffy (Donalbain / Second Murderer)
Jared Fortune (Macduff)
James Pearse (King Duncan, Old Man, and Doctor)
Tony Portacio (Ross)
Jake Sullivan (Angus, The Bleeding Sergeant, First Murderer)
Jack Mellett (Seyton)
JK Glynn (Lennox / Porter)
Kate Somerton (Witch 1 / Gentelwoman)
Lady Macduff's son:
'Stars hide your fires: Let not light see my black and deep desires'
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies charting the bloody rise and tragic downfall of the brave warrior Macbeth.
It is Shakespeare's only thriller.
At times it is a bloodbath.
A story of power, ambition and ultimately loss.
Following a prophecy by three witches who predict Macbeth will become King; Macbeth, who is consumed by ambition, murders his way to the throne.
Devil You Know Theatre company's thrilling production of Macbeth staged exclusively at the Bussey Building will be set in a dystopian world 1000 years from now.
Civilisation and technology has all but been obliterated by nuclear apocalypse and life on this earth has restarted but society and humanity have reverted.
It is a brutal landscape filled wth the skeletal reminisce of the civilisation that has been long been lost.
The people of this world have made forts and forged weapons from what was left.
It's a violent and brutal world where every man and every clan must fight for what they have.
A perfect setting for one of Shakespeare's most, thrilling, violent and chillingly evil plays.
Director Paul Tomlinson and designer Mike Lees certainly found an appropriately up-to-date setting for this well-known and often-produced bloody tale of power gained through murder and betrayal.
We find ourselves in a society in ruins with little more than rubble as the central feature.
It doesn't take a scientific genius or a philosophical giant to relate the set here to scenes we see all too often in harrowing news reports about the continued fighting in the Middle East which has resulted in enormous, once prosperous cities turned into piles of debris.
The Company - Photo: Scott Rylander
And that certainly adds an atmosphere of gloom and despondency to layer with the main themes of power and evil that loom fairly large in Shakespeare's tragedy.
But there's rather more to the setting than merely the destruction of buildings - though the warriors sport weapons, most of them are merely knives and cleavers suggesting that technology has all but been consigned to the dustbin of history, or the one the all-knowing witches use as a makeshift cauldron here.
In fact, the time period seems to be given as some considerable distance in the future where something (we don't know what) has gone terribly awry with society as a whole.
Now, the name of the game is survival, but Kingship is still where power resides and Henry Proffit's Macbeth is easily swayed to consider that he can be top dog when the suggestion is cast in his direction by a group of veil-shrouded, squirming witches whose faces we barely see.
The play itself starts with the grim image of a skeleton sitting en repos on a chair in the middle of the stage.
Lifeless it may seem, but when the witches get their hands on it we discover it still has blood coursing through it's bones!
And that start really sets the bloody mood and action for an enterprise which hardly pulls any punches in terms of relentless, blood-soaked violence which is commendably and authentically orchestrated by fight director Jonathan Holby assisted by Kiel O'Shea.
Ben Jacobs' highly effective lighting shines literally through a perpetual haze as though whatever event brought civilisation low, still lingers in the air.
Henry Proffit's laudable Macbeth is obviously an intelligent fighter and survivor, but just beneath the surface of what appears a fairly normal exterior lies something murkily odd and unnerving, perhaps psychopathic, probably deranged.
Jared Fortune impresses immensely in the highly moving scene where he learns of the butchery of his family - including all his "little chickens".
And there's admirable support too from Guy Dennys in his portrayal of Malcolm the would-be King who is able to seize his opportunity for power and convincingly persuade others to support him.
The lasting, almost tangible flavour of this production is one of consummate, impressive professionalism both in the acting from a well-cast and skilled ensemble and meticulously efficient, obviously passionate direction from Paul Tomlinson.
Treading a well-worn path by presenting a well-known play is no easy task, but this enthralling and intriguingly atmospheric version of Macbeth ably captures a society in disturbing despair through the corrupting effects of power.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for CLF Theatre
Our show listing for Macbeth
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