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Macbeth review at Tobacco Factory Bristol

Bristol’s acclaimed Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory Company has entered the most important phase yet in its five-year life with a compelling account of the tearing apart of a heroic soldier and his loving wife, not by ambition, but by their deliberate choice of evil means to a selfish end.

Director Andrew Hilton expressed some nervousness beforehand at being booked for a five-week run this autumn at the Barbican, without the London management seeing what they were buying. His company’s envious reputation for uncluttered playing remains intact, however, and he need have no concern over filling a small part of the large hole left by the departure for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Hilton sees Macbeth as the tragedy of a man destroying his own humanity, achieving neither joy nor contentment from the temporary triumph of evil. This particular battle against tyranny is given a universal flavour, while the fine ensemble playing the 18-strong cast is decorated by several surging performances.

In the title role, Gyuri Sarossy grows in physical power as his moral structure disintegrates, while Zoe Aldrich’s tortured Lady Macbeth is not naturally cruel or blood-thirsty but totally determined to seize the day and accept the consequences. Rupert Ward-Lewis (Banquo) and Jonathan Nibbs (Macduff) are quietly spoken representatives of the all-important forces for good, while Tom Espiner’s Malcolm finds first dignity and then the necessary steel to overcome brute force.

Production Information

Tobacco Factory, Bristol, February 6 – April 22

William Shakespeare
Andrew Hilton
Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory Company
Cast includes
Zoe Aldrich, Tom Espiner, Gyuri Sarossy, Jonathan Nibbs, Rupert Ward-Lewis, Roland Oliver
Running Time
2hrs 35mins

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