The Information on: `Macbeth: Director's Cut'

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The Independent Culture
What Is It?

It is the week for controversial Shakespeare productions. Hot on the heels of the Globe's Antony and Cleopatra comes Volcano Theatre Company's short, two-handed version of the Scottish play, directed by Nigel Charnock.

Who's In It?

Paul Davies and Fern Smith play Macbeth and his Lady, and it also features some video footage that makes a link between the play and the Wests' activities in Cromwell Street.

What They Say About It

"There have certainly been some rum versions of Macbeth in recent years... Joining this reductionist line-up comes... Volcano's abridged, bashed-about, brutalist reworking by Nigel Charnock, which narrows the focus down to a claustrophobic monomanie a deux... It's the banality of the show itself, not the banality of evil, that this version demonstrates," Paul Taylor, The Independent.

"We gain the tremendous cacophony that follows the death of Duncan and we gain moments of arresting tragedy queenery from Smith. We gain little else of consequence and we lose lots. The earthquake rumbles that we sometimes hear... are the bones of Shakespeare spinning," Jeremy Kingston, The Times.

"Banal it is, not to mention fouler than fair, as Fern Smith and Paul Davies act out the story in terms of its most familiar lines - muttered, then yelled amid much throwing about of bodies rather than brains, to the strains of Blue Danube and heavy metal," Anthony Holden, The Observer.

Where You Can See It

George Square Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-662 8740) 23-30 Aug; Bath (01225 448844), 1-4 Sept

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