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Brilliant young general Macbeth pulls off a glorious victory in battle before returning to an indolent court where honours are dispensed by whim. Spurred on by prophesying drifters and an ... See full summary »
Although there are a number of flaws in this production of Macbeth, it is worth viewing for several reasons. First, Nicol Williamson, though he fails to make this Macbeth work completely, is always interesting; probably, this is due to his intelligence. One can always see what he is getting at, even when he fails to get there or when we disagree with his interpretation (and I disagree with much of this one -- especially the "Tomorrow and tomorrow" sequence). The gradual shift from a heroic, conscience-concerned warrior to a cold-blooded and ruthless tyrant is clear if not always heartfelt.
Second, most of the text is clear and unadulterated (some minor changes, including the happy cutting of the Hecuba scenes, which are not by Shakespeare anyway, actually help move the play along). The cast and director have worked so carefully to illuminate the text, characters, and situations that this particular version might be the best choice for school use.
Finally, Jane Lapotaire gives a brilliant tour-de-force performance as Lady Macbeth. For one thing, she is sexy, which apparently some reviewers seem to find objectionable, but which is quite accurate for Lady M. Why else would she have to call on the powers of evil to "unsex" her? Also, she is clearly in love with her husband and not with her own ambitions. It is imperative in any production of Macbeth that the marriage is based in love and devotion; otherwise, the tragedy is lost! When this Lady Macbeth tries to calm her manic husband during the banquet scene, we can feel her anguish over the loss of their former relationship (and her part in causing it), anguish that easily turns to madness the next time we see her. The sleepwalking scene is beautifully built by re-living not only the text, but the actions of the Act 2 murder of King Duncan and its effects on the Macbeths. Lapotaire is one of the great post WWII actresses, trained in the great British tradition, and her presence in this production makes the viewing worthwhile in itself.
Don't miss it!
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