Macbeth: The Filter's 75-minute re-imagining of Shakespeare is radical

The Vaults, Leake Street, London

Paul Taylor
Friday 06 February 2015 12:08 GMT
Alison Reid (Ross), Ferdy Roberts (Macbeth) and Alan Pagan (Musician) in Filter Theatre's Macbeth
Alison Reid (Ross), Ferdy Roberts (Macbeth) and Alan Pagan (Musician) in Filter Theatre's Macbeth (Tim Morozzo)

“Full of sound and fury”? Well, certainly full of sound in this radical, 75 minute re-imagining of Shakespeare's darkest tragedy by Filter, a company celebrated for their irreverent, penetrating deconstructions of the classics, in a co-production with Bristol's Tobacco Factory.

“How is't with me, when every noise appals me?” asks Ferdy Roberts's macho, tormented Macbeth. Accordingly, the central nervous system of this stripped-back, rehearsal-clothes version is provided by the disquieting turmoil of Tom Haines's extraordinary sonic score.

It is s delivered live on the dominating tangle of laptops, keyboards and strange custom-built electronic instruments by the downbeat witches. At times, this auditory onslaught, which weaves together everything from the ticking of out-of-kilter metronomes to battle reports and prophesies half-heard through interference on radio transmission, threatens to overwhelm the truncated, if intelligently spliced, drama. But it allows for some genuinely chilling and thematically astute moments – the murderous horror at Lady Macduff's, say, signalled by Macbeth's matter-of-fact switching off of the cries issuing from a baby-monitoring device.

The bloodied hero reads about his future fate, bathetically enough, in a copy of Brodie's Notes in this production which will appeal to students with its self-conscious mix of iconoclastic humour and sonically conjured psychological intensity.

To 15 February; 020 7401 9603 – then touring to Liverpool, Oxford, Exeter, Newcastle

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