Sunday, May 01, 2011

Two Versions of The Scottish Play: Macbeth at The Greenwich Playhouse and The Tragedy of Macbeth at Charlton House

It's strange how a particular venue or a gimmicky detail can foreground certain aspects of a classic play. This was illustrated by two local productions I attended recently, within weeks of each other.

On April 7th I saw Shakespeare's Scottish play at the Greenwich Playhouse, the cosy studio space over a pub near Greenwich station and the DLR. An all-black cast were brilliant in a production that drew parallels between an ancient African kingdom and the belief systems of medieval England.

My review of the play appeared on the Remotegoat website (click to view)

More recently I went to a performance at Charlton House. A Jacobean manor house must be the perfect venue, I thought, for a performance of this darkest of Shakespearean tragedies. Best of all, it was on the bus route between Lewisham and Belmarsh.

Strangely enough, the venue had as many drawbacks as it had benefits. Or perhaps it wasn't so strange after all that a a purpose-built theatre is always going to score over a stately home, even one with a wrap-round minstrel's gallery.

This review also appeared on the Remotegoat website (click to view)

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