Mark Bruce Company: Macbeth review at Wilton’s Music Hall, London – ‘dark, smart dance-theatre’
Mark Bruce really puts the murk in Macbeth. It’s an unremittingly dark piece of dance-theatre for which Wilton’s Music Hall, with its atmospheric mixture of dereliction, grandeur and genuine chill, proves the perfect venue.
The design team work sinister wonders, by turns exposing and clouding the upstage area so that what’s revealed (and concealed) – Duncan’s bloodied corpse, a bustling banquet table, the three witches lolling on rusted scaffolding – takes on the queasy seamlessness of a dream.
Mainly comprising devotional music by Arvo Part, the score also features snatches of Schubert, Sonic Youth and bouts of scrabbling, squalling strings. Against this, Bruce confidently translates Shakespeare’s text into a compelling physical language.
As Macbeth, Jonathan Goddard – dressed unassumingly in a dark suit – has an elegant nobility and containment that veers into feral force when knives are drawn. He’s simultaneously an agent of ambition and its unwilling victim, drawn into propulsive turns and inexorable trains of thought.
Eleanor Duval convinces too as Lady Macbeth, her dawning determination expressed in fluid flickering wrists and expansive jumps. Together the pair have a slinking sexual chemistry, but that connection soon unravels into disquiet and disgust.
There’s strong support from the witches, a brutal trio in clompy boots with supernatural shopping bags, smeared faces and a tendency to shriek. Without a comic Porter to take the edge off proceedings, the production sometimes feels a little one-note. Then again, as a comment on the perpetual skulduggery that characterises political life, it’s spot on.
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