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Macbeth at the Lion and Unicorn review – ‘finds method in Macbeth’s madness’

Macbeth at the Lion and Unicorn, London. Photo: Ciaran Cunningham Macbeth at the Lion and Unicorn, London. Photo: Ciaran Cunningham

Lucid moments peppered throughout Cordial Production’s Macbeth captivate the imagination thanks to the vision of director Stuart Clarke, whose precise and thoughtful treatment of the text delivers an engaging and often gripping piece of theatre, which doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel.

This very watchable take on Shakespeare’s famous tragedy is at its strongest during a number of enchanting asides delivered by its leading cast members.

Standout moments from Cristina Dohmen (Lady Macbeth) Yinka Awoniyi (Macduff) and Clarke, also in the title role, bring depth and colour to the inner and outer world turmoil facing the characters they’ve brought to life.

While certain staging choices such as the infamous banquet scene featuring Banquo’s ghost (JR May) feel a little clumsy, this does not undermine the steady pace, which carries momentum into a satisfying second half and violent finale, although some of the impact is dampened with most of the bloodshed taking place off stage.

However, this is not such a bad thing for the intimate space of the Lion and Unicorn, coupled with smart and simple design choices by Nate Gibson and Steve Culnane which includes period costume. It keeps things understated, and does not distract the cast from letting the language of the text shine.

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A satisfying production which finds a method in Macbeth’s madness