We thought it would be entertaining to share some of New Stagers members’ reviews of recent productions they’ve seen in and around London. Opinions and views are something we’re not light on, so watch out for some ‘colourful’ and frank observations coming your way – the inaugural review of Macbeth at the Trafalgar Studios being no exception…
MACBETH AT THE TRAFALGAR STUDIOS
FINAL DIRECTOR’S NOTES TO CAST
(AS IMAGINED BY IAN PRING)
Ok folks are we all here? Good. Now there’s not much more I can add at this stage so let’s just remind ourselves of a few key points. First, don’t forget what we said right at the start: your audience are dumber than a box of hammers. Think about it, they’re paying up to 65 quid to sit in an oven, in seats built for an anorexic dwarf, for the pleasure of seeing young James here in a play most of them last read at school, and in the interval they’re given the choice of either queueing for a piss in a labyrinth or drinking a ten quid glass of Petit Chablis, cos there isn’t time for both. More money than sense, I say.
Now, I’ve done everything I can to make the whole Shakespeare experience a bit easier for the daft buggers. I’ve cut a lot of that poetry out, and bless you, my darlings, you’ve made sure any poetry I left in sounds like prose, so the audience can understand it. Better still, you’ve shouted it as loud as you can, to make absolutely sure. Brilliant stuff. (Although, Macduff, dear, if you could just try and take Jim’s example and yell a bit more, that would be great – there’s still a bit of subtlety left in your performance and your audience won’t thank you for it, believe me. If you start losing your voice as a result, you can always take a bottle of water onstage with you and work that and the hacking cough into the performance. No-one’ll notice.)
Lady M – well what can I say? The minute the audience meets you they know you’re a raving hellcat so there’s no need for any of that ‘What motivates Lady Macbeth?’ nonsense. And Banquo – fabulous, the way you express suspicion about Macbeth right off the bat – I told you that was easier than building up your suspicion gradually, didn’t I?
Witches – my loves, your characters shone through. I know you didn’t like me cutting most of your lines, but I think you realise now that with those gasmasks covering your faces, the audience wouldn’t be able to hear them anyway. And nobody does that silly Hubble Bubble scene normally anymore, so no harm done.
Finally, Macbeth – what a performance. The way you expressed the character’s duality by spending the whole time pacing either stage left to right or upstage and downstage. Genius, sheer genius. Worth the price of admission alone. The dagger speech looked like you were in a Hammer horror film swatting one of those fake bats – it really brought out the tragicomic nature of the speech. And the tour de force – the Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow speech… the way you made it sound like the tramp outside who shouts at the buses. Unbelievable.
Well, that’s all, loves, and break legs for tomorrow. And one more thing – ignore those damned reviews, right?
[wooden bagpiper photo by Jennifer Boyer ]