Great Performances: Season 39, Episode 3

Macbeth (6 Oct. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
7.8
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Reviews: 18 user | 2 critic

Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart, comes to the small screen. Reinterpreted and relocated to an underground netherworld, the Shakespearean classic is heightened with an edgy style.

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Title: Macbeth (06 Oct 2010)

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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oliver Burch ...
Servant
Suzanne Burden ...
Ben Carpenter ...
Hugo Docking ...
Macduff Son
Lillian Dummer ...
Macduff Daughter
Madeleine Dummer ...
Macduff Daughter
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Polly Frame ...
Witch / Gentlewoman
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Malcolm
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Witch
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Bloody Sergeant
Christopher Knott ...
Old Siward
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Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart, comes to the small screen. Reinterpreted and relocated to an underground netherworld, the Shakespearean classic is heightened with an edgy style.

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6 October 2010 (USA)  »

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Patrick Stewart has twice played Claudius in Hamlet. Like Macbeth, Claudius kills the King to usurp his throne. See more »

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Version of Macbeth I: The Politics of Power (1964) See more »

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A gripping, bitter, comfortless Macbeth inspired by recent horror motifs
28 February 2011 | by (Dublin Ireland) – See all my reviews

This filming of Goold's production of Macbeth makes no bones (or blood, or torn entrails) about its roots in extreme violence. This is a Macbeth that is, at times, as much SAW or The Ring as it is the wordplay.

This is not, in my view, a bad thing: Stewart is one of the few actors who can stand up against this kind of visceral attack and not be overwhelmed.

I found the witches, in their surgical masks and wielding autopsy saws, to be truly nasty spectres; they're continually lurking around in the background of the play, with their scenes integrated skillfully into the rest of the action.

The sound design is enormous, as of the bombardment of Stalingrad, and at times again threatens to become over-whelming; the atmosphere is of a world already dead, already blasted into dust. Kate Fleetwood's Lady Macbeth is so frightfully evil, with her terrifying bone-structure and icy manner, that she sometimes threatens to become the centre of the play's evil.

This is a combination of Shakespeare, 1984, torture-porn and Eisenstein: a big, brutal, blasting Macbeth for a very modern audience. I cannot imagine the schoolboy who would not be enthralled, though it might repel the older audience member.

PS: regarding the earlier reviewer: Macbeth does NOT 'admonish' his wife with the phrase about 'bring forth men children only': it is the ultimate COMPLIMENT in a male dominated society as he goes on to prove with the words 'for thy UNDAUNTED mettle should compose nothing but men'.

The Macbeths are NOT young: he is a mature man: they have had children 'I have given suck' and their child is dead or gone; that is plain. If the scene has any contradictions, it's that, being past their chances of parenthood 'he has no children', he should hint that she will be fertile again.

This production solves that problem neatly by providing a significant age difference between the two leads: Macbeth the older man and the Lady nearing the end of her fertility.


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