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Macbeth review at Brighton Dome Pavilion Theatre Brighton

The challenge of Macbeth is to do something new with it. The lines are as familiar as anything from Hamlet, the story, one of Shakespeare’s most recognised.

Platform 4 delivers the play straight in this sturdy, unshowy production, in which the three witches, dressed in widow’s weeds, pulse and sway in choral unison. Director Simon Plumridge uses minimal props and stark lighting to give precedence to the power of the text. The famous speeches take centre stage, their language mesmerising.

James Bellorini is a study in martial masculinity as Macbeth, although we never quite believe he goes on a journey from nobility to megalomania in this performance. As Lady Macbeth, Tamsin Fessey is often compelling, and her mad scenes are frightening and moving.

Where the production falls down is in the delivery of the verse. Mostly using Scottish accents, some of the actors speak too quietly or quickly, and do not allow the poetry to breathe. Such complex language needs careful attention, and too often, the sense is lost as a result.

Ominous music underscores key scenes and rather too crudely dictates the tone at times. But overall, this is a strong production with some striking moments of both terror and pathos.

Production Information

Brighton Dome, Pavilion Theatre, Brighton , November 4-5, then touring until February 8

William Shakespeare
Simon Plumridge
Platform 4
Cast includes
James G Bellorini, Tamsin Fessey, Ralf Higgins, Lynne Forbes, Henry Douthwaite
Running time
2hrs 20mins

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