The actors struggled against the setting of this Macbeth in a World War 1 hospital, which felt like an imposition on a good story rather than adding anything to it (and I am not someone who expects all my Shakespeare to be done in 17th century dress). The themes in Macbeth are universal, but once you put on World War 1 uniforms you are in a very particular war with very particular associations. Was this chosen just because it is the year of everything 1914? The physical setting, beautiful gardens, period building, would have leant themselves to Shakespeare's comedies far better than the claustrophobic, threatening world of Macbeth. The black drapes did look good and the use of the top of the building was effective, but with bad sight-lines some of the most dramatic scenes were squashed into an upstairs window where (from Table G anyway) the actors could not be seen. That was also a problem in other scenes where the actors were among the audience, or to the far reaches of the wide raised area. I gave up trying to see some bits. Some of the performances were good, but the stylised violence felt old-hat and most of all, if you did not know the story you would have struggled to follow it. If you are taking young people for an early experience of Shakespeare, do not take them to this.
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