Macbeth - Reviews - Sarah (revisited again)

Last Update: 14 November 2002

The play ended just under 2 hours ago and I MUST go to bed. This was my fourth viewing, and I have to say, sorry those of you who went back over the pond, but it was really Sean's best performance I'd seen so far. He inhabited the words better than ever before, you could see the cogs going round in his brain while he was speaking: he was relaxed and in control - he was just miles better all round.

I could feel this right from his more reactive reading of the first weird sisters scene; he was more sensitive to what they were saying. This was true throughout - he seemed so much more relaxed (he made one fluff in that dreadful "They placed upon my head a fruitless crown" tongue twister of a line but it didn't seem to throw him - if anything it made him edgier, angrier! )

His closure after the interview with the murderers - "it is concluded" was the style I like him doing - a slightly cheeky grimace to the audience, as if to say, "Well, that were easy enough!" He's dropped that sometimes, he did it wonderfully tonight. NORWICH (my name for the bed scene - only Brits will understand this) went very well - Sean just hurled himself onto Sam - I thought for a moment he was going to get his hand right up her skirt - and they played it real slow and when she told him to be an "innocent flower" she had her hands round his face. Innocent flower indeed. (He kept pulling up one of the Weird Sister's skirt as well and then hoiking it down again - it must have been very tantalising for the men in the audience.)

The murder scene went exceptionally well. While telling Mrs M about the two servants talking in their sleep, he was almost laughing hysterically while she looked at him aghast. It was brilliant. She was not quite so full-on angry as I have seen her, though.

The discovery scene also went well, with Sean's lovely shiftiness and playing "Twas a rough night" perfectly.

The banquet was terrific; I am now quite used to Banquo's appearance but it still makes me feel Uggh!

Sam Bond started thumping Sean in the chest, and Sean leapt over the table particularly well, creating a sense of complete havoc. Incidentally, as my daughter said afterwards, Ed Hall must have had a huge bucket of stage blood round the back tonight as everyone was just sloshing it on all over! It was dripping from Sean's hands in the murder scene and from Banquo in the ghost scene.

The murder of the MacDuffs was stunning and Mark Bazeley and David Beames absolutely milked their scene where Macduff hears of the murders - it went on for ages!

Ross has been transformed into a completely two-faced baddy who is aware of the planned murder of the MacDuff family.

The picture of the Palace of Westminster, which looked like a tourist postcard, has been quietly airbrushed from the backdrop to the England scene - it is now just a tasteful hint of a Flag of St George waving in the breeze.

Best of all, Sean took his Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow scene slow and beautifully; his see-saw of feelings, self-justification, regret, fear and bluster was absolutely spot on. He practically picked the poor messenger up and tossed him off the stage - when he heard Mrs M topping herself off stage - "What noise was that?" he was PERFECT. He completely changed the way he delivered the line - the first time I saw it he sounded like Sharpe ticking Harper off for being drunk. This time he said it with a really moving sense of foreboding, knowing what the answer was before he heard it, and his face was a picture.

The final battle was great. Sean let himself go with Young Siward, beckoning wolfishly at him, mouthing, "C'mon..."

Sean and Mark Bazeley went on for ever hacking away at each other - it was great swordfighting and they eked it out for as long as they felt, I suspect. When delivering the coup de grace, MacDuff simultaneously whipped the crown off Sean's head and threw it to the ground where he later picked it up to hand to Malcolm. Previously he has left the crown on Sean, to reappear on the head which he rams onto the battlements.

Adrian Schiller delivered his last speech like Goebbels planning the final solution and I heard people in the audience going "Ooer!" as the lights went out.

At the last curtain call Sean pulled Sam Bond over to him and planted a lovely smacker on her. She looked pleased.

But best of all I felt Macbeth's rollercoaster of feelings really coming through Sean tonight. The boy done good!

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