Theatre Review: Macbeth

Created by Filter
Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow

By Jimmy Owens

My working knowledge of Shakespeare is scant at best. I did very little of Shakespeare at school, and what I do remember has probably been mixed up with film and TV productions. So imagine my trepidation when my girlfriend surprised me with tickets to Filter’s Macbeth, a Shakespearian play productions which relies more on driving synth than on a clear coherent narrative. I usually find Shakespeare to a rather dry subject, even when told on the big screen. However, I did enjoy Filter’s production of the “Scottish Play” despite the at times difficult to follow narrative. I was aware of the curse which is said to Macbeth productions but I do not believe in such backward things. Curses are usually self-fulfilling, similar to the prophecy foretold to Macbeth by the three witches at the very beginning. The seed of power gets planted and Macbeth sees the opportunity to make it so, driven on by Lady Macbeth.
I was thoroughly impressed with the score which did well to keep up with the energetic performances of the six actors who danced, stalked and ran around the stage. Ferdy Roberts plays the ever maddening Macbeth whose journey from would be king to regicidal maniac is both full of explosive prose and domineering stage presence. The musical composition became the narrative with dark and often foreboding melodies that that punctuated the traditional Macbeth story.
The minimal stage dressing, which consisted of a mess of wires sitting under two wooden tables, atop, sat a range of musical instruments. A Theremin, electro-chimes, a synth violin and synth keyboard set the tone of each scene. The tables became the focal point for the genesis and culmination of each scene. Everything goes through the music, the actual words just coming along for the ride.
What I enjoyed best about Filter’s production was the modern twist. Some of the exposition was told through radio broadcasts, which informed us of the major plot points. This gave the production a distinctly twentieth century feel that entertained a non-Shakespeare like me. However, I am sure that some purists would not enjoy this twist.

Having seen Filter’s production of Macbeth, I would definitely be more inclined to see more Shakespearian plays told in a similar fashion.} else {