Macbeth review at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury – ‘a skilful in-house production’
Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn has taken the brave step of mounting its first in-house production. It has temporarily converted the intimate Walker studio theatre into an in-the-round space for the purpose, allowing its audience to get up close to the action. It would have been so much easier to have opted for one of the comedies, so the producers deserve credit for staging one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
There are some memorable moments in Loveday Ingram’s production, not least the scene involving Banquo’s ghost, in which the ill-fated nobleman, played by Dave Fishley, is encased in a glass coffin that transforms into a banqueting table. Charlie Morgan Jones’ lighting allows the body to be seen by Macbeth (and the audience) only to disappear again. It’s quite breathtaking.
The fight scenes are also finely executed. But there’s still a sense of this being a toe-in-the-water operation for the theatre, hopefully paving the way for more home-grown productions.
Ingram certainly doesn’t go over the top. She invests Jane Gurnett’s Lady Macbeth with less power-crazed ruthlessness than is usually the case, while Patrick Robinson’s is a robust Macbeth. The Witches are not as effective as they might be though – except when they pull faces at the audience.
As a first in-house production, with a cast of talented amateur performers working with eight professionals, this is a wonderfully encouraging start. It’s to be hoped that this is the first of many from Theatre Severn.
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